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Working Off the Clock, How Much Is Too Much?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the volunteering-isn't-voluntary dept.

Businesses 582

The Wall Street Journal has word of yet another suit against an employer who required an "always on" mentality to persist because of easily available communications. Most of us working in some sort of tech related job are working more than 40 hours per week (or at least lead the lifestyle of always working), but how much is too much? What methods have others used in the past to help an employer see the line between work and personal life without resorting to a legal attack? "Greg Rasin, a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, a New York business law firm, said the recession may spawn wage-and-hour disputes as employers try to do the same amount of work with fewer people. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act says employees must be paid for work performed off the clock, even if the work was voluntary. When the law was passed in 1938, 'work' was easy to define for hourly employees, said Mr. McCoy. As the workplace changed, so did the rules for when workers should be paid."

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Where do I begin (5, Informative)

weave (48069) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016717)

Oooo, an opportunity to whine! I'll start.

I don't mind working in the middle of the night if nagios wakes me up because something went wrong. Sure beats having to deal with it first thing in the morning. But what ticks me off is when I roll into work 30 minutes "late" the next day and it's like "Oh look, weave is rolling in late again."

But the big scam is comp time. Work after hours? Gotta take comp time. But then there's never an opportunity to use it, and if you do manage to use comp time, you don't get a chance to use all of your vacation time, and at the end of the year you lose unused vacation time. If you insist and take all of your comp time and vacation time, people are whining that you're always on leave and never around and then when projects don't get done, you get dinged on your performance eval.

Re:Where do I begin (5, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016765)

My simple solution?
I refused my last promotion to an exempt position, instead staying a technician. I do engineering level work, with engineering responsibilities, but technician pay. Thing is, while my "per hour" may be lower, my total pay is nearly the same, because engineers are "always on" and I get OT.
Further I can bail after 8 hours and no one can bitch about it. Overall it's a better deal than people realize. Once my kids get older I may take a promo, but not till then.
-nB

Re:Where do I begin (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016821)

Solution: take it anyway, you've earned it. Don't give a fuck about evaluations. Realize that the best way to get a raise is to find a new employer. If you think you're being punished for using comp time, start interviewing.

Re:Where do I begin (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016997)

If you're getting screwed on evaluations for taking your comp time, chances are that you're going to get screwed on your evaluations one way or another. So listen to this guy. Screw'em and take it anyways.

Re:Where do I begin (2, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016941)

But then there's never an opportunity to use it, and if you do manage to use comp time, you don't get a chance to use all of your vacation time, and at the end of the year you lose unused vacation time.

Not in California. You lose sick time, but vacation time is essentially money in the bank. Either they have to give you the time off or else give you the balance in cash.

Re:Where do I begin (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017019)

Can you offer some links to back up your assertions? Where I work my employer caps our vacation time. After we've accumulated a certain amount of time we either have to use the excess before the end of the year, or lose it. I'd like to see something in writing that says the practice is illegal.

Re:Where do I begin (5, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017101)

I'll save you some time, there is no such law. Accrual rates can be capped even in employee friendly California.

On the other hand, Californians are protected from "use it or lose it" plans.

See here [ca.gov] .

Re:Where do I begin (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017141)

Thanks! I was about to reply to my own post with the exact same link but you beat me to it.

Re:Where do I begin (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017313)

What is funny to me (European talking here). There is no such thing as sick time. If there were, you would be stupid not to take sick time from time to time just to get what you have right to,

Re:Where do I begin (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016953)

How it is legal to lose vacation time that is stated in contract I'll never understand. If they force you to use it, fine. If they mandate that you will lose it, then they should pay you at your equivalent hourly/daily rate for any amount over what can be carried over.
For example, if I make 100,000 but can only carry over 5 days of vacation but have 5.5 hours saved up, then I should be paid for half a day, or 4 hours. My equivalent hourly rate would be my (salary)*(1 year/2000 hours), or $50 an hour * 4 hours, or $200 less taxes.

Taking away vacation is literally like taking away earned money. If your contract stipulates that you earn vacation hours, then you're due them one way or another.

Re:Where do I begin (1)

Tripledub (951046) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017069)

Testify Brother!

Re:Where do I begin (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017089)

I don't know how your job is, but I usually try to get my work scheduled by deadlines, not by hours in the office. I say, 'this job will take X number of days.' And then I finish it by that time. If I finish it faster, then I leave early on some days. If it takes longer than I expected (rare these days, now that I've gotten good at predicting how long things will take), then I work extra hours, or as soon as possible let people know that the deadline needs to be moved back. Most programmers have trouble focusing (this is an anecdotal, personal observation; if you are a programmer and can focus, don't be offended), so if you can figure out how to focus during the time you are working, then you should have no problem getting more work done in less time than is expected of you. Focusing is hard, though.

Re:Where do I begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017207)

My problem is when I say a project is going to take me X number of days, my employer tells me to do it in X-10 days. So I learn and next time tell them it will take me X+10 days. Somehow they call my bluff and tell me to get it done in (X+10)-20 days. Note, it never changes anything. Either I get it done in X days, or I give them garbage output to get done in less time.

Re:Where do I begin (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017405)

It's not that he's knows how much you're overestimating the time, it's that he either knows how long it should take or he has a deadline by which the work needs to be done.

Sometimes your employer is a better programmer than you and just needs you to do what he doesn't have time to do (you're his parallel processor).

Re:Where do I begin (4, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017381)

let me know how well you focus when you are scheduled to work 100% on 'task X' and 4-5 unscheduled tasks come up at the same time 'oh, we just need this one thing for this customer urgently' and you can't change the deadline for 'task X' because marketing is already going and selling it

In my experience programmers are quite good at predicting how long something would take them to code if they could code in uninterrupted chunks of time, pity that rarely happens, and the problem is that when it does happen then you end up overachieving the schedule, and next time that will be the yardstick that will be used (only next time you'll have all the other additional tasks coming in, thus making sure you won't hit the scheduled target unless you do gobs of overtime).

Then you end up with coders padding their schedules, and managers assuming the schedules are padded and cutting them, it is really a no-win situation that is allowed to fester because the companies do not pay for overtime at time-and-a-half, if they did you can bet that they would majorly increase the efficiency allowing people to work better and so taking less time. If you have the power to basically tell people 'you either work 80 hours week, of which 40 are unpaid, or you get fired' then what incentive do you have in making schedules and working conditions better?

It's the same deal as why in most places you have cubes or open spaces, crappy monitors/chairs, etc. etc. etc.

Re:Where do I begin (5, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017135)

Firstly, get the nagios emails sent to your team at work as well as yourself.

Secondly, when you start to deal with the nagios error at 2am, send an email saying "I am looking into this now", and when you're done at 3am, send an email saying "All done now, see you at 10, I need my sleep more than ever now!". Screw what other people say, make sure your boss knows every single time you work out of hours via the aforementioned email. Bosses like reading emails that says "Problem fixed." anyway. Also make a note in a log book so you can demonstrate your out of hours company-saving efforts at review time.

Secondly, you only get one life, and within that life you only get one chance to be 20/30/40/50. Don't waste that time on work, unless you're working for yourself and doing well enough to retire well earlier than you would have otherwise. Take that time off, and be anal about it.

Thirdly, look for another job once the market picks up. If you're good, and willing to be on call, then you're valuable, and you can go somewhere where working hours aren't set in concrete, bound with leather and chained to the ground because the boss is ex-military and gets up at 6am everyday and expects everyone else to.

Re:Where do I begin (2, Interesting)

SeanGilman (1083559) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017147)

Comp time is a huge scam. I left a job because my manager always used the "comp time" excuse to make up my extra hours, when I left I had accrued 32 DAYS of comp time, and I still had 7 days of PTO left. I finally realized that I would never get my comp time. Funny thing is a year later I ended up going back to that employer. I did tell them that if they wanted me 24X7 they would pay for it and the salary I was demanding was NOT the 24X7 salary. They were fine with it and within 3 months I had my old managers job and now I make sure that anyone on my team takes a comp day 1-2 weeks after they earned it.

Re:Where do I begin (4, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017211)

But what ticks me off is when I roll into work 30 minutes "late" the next day and it's like "Oh look, weave is rolling in late again."

I've had this same problem, though they didn't call me weave. The truth of the matter is, when you're in an 8-5 support job (and admin may include support) people expect you to be there from 8-5. If something goes wrong at 8 AM, and they page you or call your desk or stop by your cubicle, and can't find you...it's a problem. Solution is easy: communicate. Call and email your work POC (boss, administrative person, etc) when you leave the office at 2 AM and tell them you'll be rolling in late.

As to the less powerful people who remark on your apparent tardiness, simply start a numbers game:

"Oh, look who just woke up!"
"2"
"2 what?"
"I left the office at 2 AM."
"Oh..."

"Hah...rolling in late again, weave?"
"3"
"Geez, dude. Glad I don't have your job."

etc, etc

Re:Where do I begin (5, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017279)

Yeah, comp time is a scam. At a previous job my boss insisted I track all the hours of comp time I was racking up since he was sort of an idealist. When it totalled up to 4 months during a brutal stretch (80-100 hour weeks, working 30+ days straight) it just depressed me and I stopped counting any additional comp time hours. Shortly later I got promoted ($0 raise though) and moved to a new manager who asked what the deal was with the comp time hours my prior manager mentioned. When I told him it was 4+ months I was told "No". Later a week long vacation was offered up in lieu.

I quit and lived out of my truck for 10 months instead.

Now I work my 8 hours and go home. It's a job, no more, no less. I'm not working my butt off for 1-2% raises.

Re:Where do I begin (0)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017297)

But what ticks me off is when I roll into work 30 minutes "late" the next day and it's like "Oh look, weave is rolling in late again."

Nagios wakes me up in the night too...but nobody says a thing when I show up at 11am... I do stay till 19h30 though, just because it's the right think to do.

Re:Where do I begin (0)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017407)

But what ticks me off is when I roll into work 30 minutes "late" the next day and it's like "Oh look, weave is rolling in late again."

Been there, done that and decided that if it ever happens somewhere I work, I will be sure to take the boss aside and let him know that if (s)he expects me to take that kind of crap, we'll be talking a big increase in my pay. In my case, I was at work from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. the next morning fixing a broken database. When I rolled into work around 8:30 (instead of 8:00), my boss commented to me that "five minutes early was right on time."

I made it a point to sit in my car in the parking lot until 7:59:45 every morning for the next two weeks, but I've since decided that I will never, ever just suck it up and say nothing again.

Depends of course (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016733)

If you aren't exempt I'd say any is too much. You are screwing yourself and your fellow employees.
 
    If you are exempt, as TFA says it get's a little murkier. I've happily put in extra time when needed but I expect my employer to be flexible when the heat is off. Otherwise my tendency is to then lean towards voting with my feet. Right now that is easier to say than do for a lot of people. But what is acceptable varies so much from person to person that it is impossible to come up with any kind of general rule to fit all those different cases.

Re:Depends of course (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016767)

exactly.

respond to escalating demands with escalating reliance on work-to-rule [wikipedia.org] .

malicious compliance is your friend.

Re:Depends of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016781)

If you aren't exempt I'd say any is too much. You are screwing yourself and your fellow employees.

    If you are exempt, as TFA says it get's a little murkier. I've happily put in extra time when needed but I expect my employer to be flexible when the heat is off. Otherwise my tendency is to then lean towards voting with my feet. Right now that is easier to say than do for a lot of people. But what is acceptable varies so much from person to person that it is impossible to come up with any kind of general rule to fit all those different cases.

Sounds great. I'd like to hire you for a death march, promise lots of comp time later, and then let you quit without a bbonus when you find out later = never.

Re:Depends of course (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016841)

I wouldn't do it in the first place and I'd bail in the middle if I found out the employer lied. And I know some people end up in that stuff because they either feel that they don't have a choice - or they really don't. So maybe I'm just really lucky rather than smart - either way I've never let an employer take over my entire life and I feel that for the most part I've been able to give fair effort for fair compensation.

Re:Depends of course (2, Insightful)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017121)

"You are screwing yourself and your fellow employees."

If you're not exempt, and especially if you have a job that logs time, this has to be reiterated. You may be willing to trade your free time to help yourself, your team, or your company. A world where nothing ever goes wrong could accept this kind of behavior. Unfortunately, we live in a world with lawyers (apologies Ray if you're reading, you're my hero). If you're off the clock and anything that needs to be "official" (read: "documented") happens, your life just got a new headache. "Why were you there? Was it your fault? Were you involved? Again, why were you there?" If your coworker sues because they feel like their job depends on doing unpaid work, what will you say when they ask you the facts? Who have you helped then? You make yourself more of a liability by working off the clock. To me, the cost outweighs the benefit, from the perspective of both employer and employee.

Re:Depends of course (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017299)

But what defines off-the-clock "work"? Say you have a project due in 3 weeks, but you need to learn a new system / language / technique for it. Now you can't seem to get to sleep for a couple of nights, so you decide to do a bit of online research. Since that research applies directly to an assigned project, is any learning you do off hours "billable"? What if what you are learning could be considered general knowledge in the field (such as flipping through some Perl of Java documentation to pick up new techniques). At some point you have to draw the line between job-specific learning and your normal knowledge pursuit.

Re:Depends of course (5, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017213)

I'd argue the reverse. If you aren't exempt (i.e. you receive overtime pay) then take be on the clock as much as you want, as long as you are actually getting paid for it (and if you aren't then you damn well better be talking to the DOL).

If you are exempt however, you are part of the problem by putting in so much time and not kicking up a fuss. America is full of 'idiots' who aim for that mythical salary wage thinking that they are going to get a fair shake from their boss (i.e. you put in 60 hours a week for a while, you should be able to cut back some in compensation afterwards).

Here's the facts of life, the more work you put in as a salaried employee, the less labor they have to pay out. Even the bosses that are honest have to budget and are going to base it on what's getting done now and what's not getting done vs. "Well things are going ok right now but that's only because Tim is putting in 50 hours a week..." things just don't work that way in real life. Trust me.

You are NEVER going to get a fair shake as a salaried worker in America without fighting for it. Frankly, if you are salaried, and you aren't looking to be the CEO some day, then letting yourself be put into a situation where you are putting in more than 40 hours a week on a regular bases is both foolish and harmful for the rest of your peers.

That's OK... (5, Funny)

barnyjr (1259608) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016743)

I make my time back by slacking off at least 75% of my time at work.

The key is to *look* busy... and leave the cursor on the minimize icon.

Re:That's OK... (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016817)

George: Right now, I sit around pretending that I'm busy.
Jerry: How do you pull that off?
George: I always look annoyed. Yeah, when you look annoyed all the time, people think that you're busy. Think about it... [puts on an annoyed face]
Elaine: Yeah, you do! He looks very busy!
Jerry: Yeah, he looks busy! Yeah!
George: I know what I'm doin.' In fact Mr. Wilhelm gave me one of those little stress dolls. All right, back to work. [puts on the annoyed face]

Re:That's OK... (4, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016911)

I had such a hair trigger on my alt-tab that one time I was doing actual work when my boss walked up and bam I popped up slashdot from pure reflex. Any more I care very little.

Re:That's OK... (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017039)

4t Tray Minimizer Free is the best piece of software ever.

So far my keys are mapped as such:
Alt-Control-H. Hide application. Not minimize or to the tray, but completely gone.
Alt-Control-R. Pop up the dialog to return an application.
(Shift-Control-* minimizes to the tray).

Not just useful for hiding slashdot, but for getting "mandatory" windows out of the way.

That plus my middle button (or is mapped to "Show Desktop") anytime I hear those footsteps, quick tap to the middle button and all that's up is my desktop.

Re:That's OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017295)

I come in at 9am, and just stare at my desk for about an hour.

Re:That's OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017421)

I make my time back by slacking off at least 75% of my time at work.

Only 75%? Man, how do you do it? You surely need a vacation...

Diminishing returns (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016747)

Besides the effect of unrelaxed stress, there is a clear point of diminishing returns when you do a single thing overlong. For me it's a 10 hour limit. I also obey the 4pm Friday rule. To work beyond this point is stupid. But when you're always available, these limits are not communicated to the people who can reach you, generally, so you lose.

Answer? Turn the bloody things off at night.

Re:Diminishing returns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016801)

Deer sire: eye except ur chhallenge and rekuest swords or pisstuhls at dawn. If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life. -- Albert Schweitzer

Don't like it? Too bad (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016755)

Hate to break this to you, but especially in IT, this is just the way it is. My boss, like many others, seems to think that by being my employer, he dictates what I work... even if that means I neglect my family and health. Don't like it? Leave and don't come back.

The laws in place too to protect against such things are way too mild and useless. Someone can fire you for being sick or taking off because your kid was in a car crash... sure it isn't legal, but the trouble you have to go through to fight it, then what you get in return for doing so is horribly skewed.

The only solution is to find another job. It may not be right. It may not be fair. That IS how it is.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016825)

The only solution is to find another job. It may not be right. It may not be fair. That IS how it is.

Not how it is for me. Fortunately, I'm not a pussy who will walked all over. It's all fun and games until I fuck you over with extortion and blackmail. 1 primary goal of mine in any job is to infect my superior with a nice trojan. I call it "Job insurance". Any and all dirt i can get on them I will proceed to use in the event of a a legitamate excuse about family and health. I've ruined a couple of marriages this way.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017371)

LMAO. Everyone's a bad ass on the internet. In the highly unlikely event you're actually serious and sincere, I ask you this. You may think you're a bad ass and "not a pussy", but if your key to success and security throughout life is extorting and blackmailing people who are in the habit of treating you and others like shit, what is your grand plan for the day you meet one who has little qualm about putting you in hospital or at the bottom of the river as soon as you threaten to expose their secrets?

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (4, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016873)

No, it isn't. Retraining and hiring new people is expensive- they really do need you more than you need them. Just work your 40 and leave. They aren't going to fire you, they'll just bitch. If this is a problem across the company, organize. If your entire team refuses as a group, then they're completely up shit creek.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (4, Interesting)

baegucb (18706) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017091)

When I worked at a large studio in west LA, the VP, a recently retired Army Colonel, asked how long a project would take a group of programmers. He was given an estimate, but cut it in half, saying that people always lied about how long it would take. The project took months, and came in one week late. The entire group was fired. (They found out about it accidently when someone saw the termination notice for a friend and went and asked why they were all being terminated).

When I had the start of a similar thing with my staff, I had a meeting with him in which I pointed out the studio could be sued. He said he didn't care, the legal department was down the hall and would handle it. I left shortly after, having a standing offer at another company. In today's economy, some people may not have that option.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (2, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017339)

When I worked at a large studio in west LA, the VP, a recently retired Army Colonel, asked how long a project would take a group of programmers. He was given an estimate, but cut it in half, saying that people always lied about how long it would take. The project took months, and came in one week late.

So what in fact he should have done was take a third off, not half?

The VP was/is an asshole (not at all surprising for a Hollywood exec).

But if the project took "months" (let's say 4) and was a week late, that means your original estimate was 8 months. At the very least, I'd fire a Project Manager who quoted me 8 months on a 4 month project.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017347)

That would be funny if people hadn't got fired. The irony is that tech staff always do give false estimates, but you need to double them (at least), not halve them to get the real number.

Anyway, the real point is that, in general, the GP is correct. The reason there is an "always on" culture in tech related roles is because the techs let it happen. There are always exceptional situations like the one you relate, but, in most companies, if the tech staff took a stand, the management would suck it up.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017419)

Hope that guy gets shot. What scum. Fucking military scum who thinks they have a clue about the real world. FUCKER.

I hope the programmers sued the company for all it had, or accidentally removed the source repository and backups in an unfortunate episode.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (0, Flamebait)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016891)

Maybe the government should step in and provide universal jobs. We could debate if it should be a single employer system or if the government should just provide jobs for people that are unemployed at the time. It really is a moral imperative to do something about this. There really shouldn't be any talk against this.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017071)

If you value your freedoms, that is a -bad idea-. The entire point of government is to get more power and screw its citizens over and hope they don't rebel. Sure, they start with nice ideals, but they slowly descend into tyranny.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017061)

The only solution is to find another job. It may not be right. It may not be fair. That IS how it is.

Just because this is how it is does not mean this is how it should be, and if everyone gives up and looks for a new job each time this occurs, that's really not going to help the problem. What people need to do is convey that your time at work is their time, doing whatever they want so long as it's legal. But the time not at work? That's not work time. Without providing some kind of extra incentive (such as a 7 hour work day), they have no control over you outside of work. Some positions are clearly going to require too much of you, and if you happen to be in one of these situations, then yeah, not a whole lot you can do if you can't convince them that your personal time is yours. But accepting that this is the state of the industry is not going to make anything better.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (3, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017179)

Maybe "that's just the way it is" where YOU work. I've had my boss' boss standing in my door tapping his watch at 5 minutes after. "It's Friday. What the Hell are you still doing here?"

Of course, that can burn the other way. There have been several occasions when shit just plain needed to get done and it didn't because my boss did the end-of-day "road runner". Sure, he takes the heat for those situations but I'd much rather spend 15-20 minutes fixing something after hours than have to spend an hour or two cleaning up the mess the next morning. It feels unprofessional to leave a simple job incomplete just to avoid working a few extra minutes.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (3, Insightful)

staeiou (839695) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017335)

Hate to break this to you little girl, but especially in the textile industry during this new Industrial Age, this is just the way it is. My boss, like many others, seems to think that by being my employer, he dictates what I work, where I live, what I eat, who I can associate with... even if that means I neglect my family and health. In fact, I lost an arm in one of the factory machines a few years ago - didn't see me trying to fight the system, because I know how hard it is. Don't like it? Leave and don't come back.

The laws in place to protect against such things are way too mild and useless. Someone can fire you for being maimed in their own machinery or assaulted by their own managers... you can even get fired for refusing to have sex with your manager... and then get fired for getting pregnant if you do! Sure it isn't legal, but the trouble you have to go through to fight it, then what you get in return for doing so is horribly skewed.

The only solution, my dear child worker, is to find another job. Don't bother forming a union with others - strikes have never worked and never will. Don't bother protesting, or trying to raise awareness by getting your story out. Don't try the courts - they are just a horrific waste of time stacked against you. And especially don't bother voting - except with your feet to another employer. What? You can't leave because nobody will hire a child who has already run away from a factory? You can't leave because you don't have the money to go looking for another job because you're employed 17 hours a day just to eat? Well child, the best you can do is be resigned to your life of virtual slavery, complaining to yourself that the system just doesn't work for you. It may not be right. It may not be fair. That IS how it is.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017341)

My first job out of school, I got reamed out for not putting in 60 hours and for taking lunch breaks. I told them "we can open up my hours and my salary at the same time." When the CEO responded with "if you want to be a computer guy...", I told him, "a carpenter isn't a hammer guy. I'm an Electrical Engineer."

I got emails from the CEO saying that "start time is earlier, remember?" I would reply with, "I never agreed to that rule." They went bankrupt.

At my next job, I got there early, since that was what worked out better logistically. When I'd put in my time and leave, I'd be asked, "how come you're not staying as late as [suckup]?" "I get here an hour before he gets here, and I get my work done on time." "You should put in more time." "I'm ahead of schedule."

After that, I found work that paid by the hour. There were days when I worked until midnight, but those were rare and I was fully compensated at 1.5x TOIL. They ran out of money in January during the recession.

My current job has a NO OVERTIME policy. They also compensate me far more than any of my previous jobs plus treat me with a lot of respect.

Definition of work (4, Informative)

Xemu (50595) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016761)

when the law was passed in 1938, 'work' was easy to define for hourly employees, said Mr. McCoy.

It is quite easy to define 'work' for employees in any field in 2009. If management don't want perform the task themselves and someone e, then it's work.

Jiu-Jitsu (5, Funny)

j_kenpo (571930) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016769)

I informed my boss that my personal life involves me choking people and applying pressure to joints, and clarify that if my work life enters my personal life, then my personal life will enter my work life. Haven't had a problem since. You can't just let people walk all over you just because they have the title of "boss".

Re:Jiu-Jitsu (1)

Mr. Beatdown (1221940) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017413)

Funny thing, One of the reasons I went to this job is that my last one was consulting. I had to work "remote only" for a week after a fight while my face was bruised/swollen.

Science Rules (1)

Mendoksou (1480261) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016779)

As a research scientist, I don't even 'work' ON the clock... hehe.

Ya, the whole cooperate "elite management" style is really troublesome to me; you know, the idea that the company pretty well owns you, and that the managers are superior human beings simply because they are above you on the food chain. That's why I'm staying the heck away from it all.

Re:Science Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016857)

Same here. But reading all the posts on Slashdot about working conditions in private industry sure is a good motivator to try hard and keep that research position. I'll happily take my low pay when it comes together with 5 weeks vacation and a flexible 38 hour schedule. (mostly without meetings or being "managed"!)

Re:Science Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017153)

For fun, i had a look at the International Labour Organization conventions a few days ago. It basically appears that the US blatantly disregards them. Just one example, my contract states that i have the right to a generous 0 holiday/year and to a no less generous 0 sick day/year (though i am lucky my boss i nice about that, i heard that is not the case for everyone unfortunately). The standard work week is 40 hours. In reality this is more like the minimum. Closer to 45 on average. And this is not even in the industry. I work as a slave^Wpostdoc. So, being a research scientist is great, but do not forget you were postdocs. So treat your postdocs better.

P.S.: I would love some federal law giving a minimum of 4 weeks of holidays. It would put the US on par with other industrialized countries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_statutory_minimum_employment_leave_by_country

Re:Science Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017435)

You must not be a good researcher if you use anecdotes, biased ones since people generally vent online as stress relief, to define your opinion of every private company in existence.

I'm recently out of school, with just a MS, and working in the private IT industry. My salary is very nice, my hours are flexible, overtime is nonexistent, close to 4 weeks vacation, top of the line equipment and so on.

Any at all (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016797)

Employers are always willing to make a push and demand you come in weekends or work late. But when slow times come around, do you get free time off? No, you do not. In fact, do you get anything at all for putting in the extra effort, besides the dubious benefit of retaining your job? No, you do not. So any at all is unacceptable, because there's no quid for that quo.

Is it really the employer's fault? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016819)

I have found it is as much an employee problem as an employer problem.

We have people who (figuratively) punch out at 40 hours, whether they have finished what they were supposed to or not. When it comes to a new project, everyone wants the people who will get stuff done even if there are a few little hiccups.

When it comes to salary increases or layoff decisions, the most in-demand people always get preference.

Don't blame the employer, blame the co-workers and others in the industry that set the precedence. The employer sees "free" work being done and takes advantage of it.

Re:Is it really the employer's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017021)

Nonsense.

The problem isn't lazy employees, which is the subtext of your post. The problem IS unrealistic employer expectations. I've spent the last 12 years working in IT environments where workers are routinely expected to kill themselves for the good of the company; one company didn't compensate properly....if I had what i should have earned from them, it'd pay off my house.

The most effective word for negotiating overtime is "no," especially when it's said by multiple staffers.

Weapon (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016823)

This is best used as a weapon. If you want me to be "on call" then you're going to pay me half time to be sober. If I'm not "on call" then I'll answer the phone if I answer the phone. We don't do "comp time"; that shit has never worked in the history of PHB's. What we do it double time from when the phone rings, and that burns enough that I can leave when I want on friday (generally) because "I've got to leave, I'm over 40 this week." That and in your contract, put in that you won't return to work until 12 hours after you leave. Make sure the union puts that in if you're CWA.

Re:Weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017143)

Yeah let's see if we can think of any more ways to make our products cost more.

these devices were supposed to free us (2, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016861)

Weren't we all sold on the idea that these devices were going to allow us to get so much more work done quicker that we'd have more free time to take little Timmy to the zoo more often?

Not that many of us didn't see this coming. I personally love the commercials showing a dude checking his work email or routing a package right from his phone while on vacation. Yeah, uh, blow me. This is supposed to make me want to buy your product?

Since I'm lazy, I won't even go down the road of how the socialist Europeans can get more work done than us USians and still take a month off each year....

Re:these devices were supposed to free us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017397)

A month? Hah, amateur!

Any given year has roughly 260 workdays in it (5*52).
Of course, there are certain days marked as holiday. By law.
This year, five of those days fall on weekdays (some years it's 6 or 7).

Certain days are half days, and depending on your employer, you may get the entire day off (while still getting paid).

In other words, 250 workdays is pretty normal.

Now, the first sign that you're an amateur is that you think we only take a month off.
Combined with weekends and timed with holidays, you can turn 30 days into almost 2 months without trying.

Now, I have thirty days of paid vacation per year (trying for 35 next salary negotiation).

Every year, I need to "spend" 20 days of vacation - the rest, I get to save for five years (by law).
This year I have 43 paid vacation days I can use.

The average month holds 22 working days, and so I could be gone for two (actual) months without planning anything.

Living in Sweden, I prefer being away during the cold months of the year -- i.e. anywhere between November and March.
Right now, I'm looking at a trip to warmer climates, starting in December.

Dec = 22 working days.
January '10 = 19 working days.
With the days I have right now, I could be gone Dec 1st - Feb 3rd.

On the other hand, I get another 30 days on January 1st, so I could really be gone Dec 1st - Mar 18th.

With love,
Europe.

Free time isn't free (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016865)

Asking employees to work extra for free is akin to stealing. If a worker needs some extra income, they can't just dip into the company coffers because it is convenient. It's a shame that so many people are willing to give up their free time so easily because their employer won't do the right thing and hire more help.

Employees tend to believe the employer has all the power, and as a result this is pretty much the case. It's hard for an employee in the tech sector to demand a reasonable 40-45 hour workweek when there are 15 other idiots lined up who are ready to give all their free time away.

Posting anonymously so that no one concludes that I'm not a "team player".

Greatest Trick (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016897)

The greatest trick that Milton Friedman ever pulled was convincing the world unions don't exist.

Re:Greatest Trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016985)

then where does my $150 go each month that says its for the union?

Re:Greatest Trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017159)

You mean $30 a month... Multi hundred dollar union dues are a myth.

Get Clear First (4, Insightful)

Jekler (626699) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016907)

Before you even take a job, get clear on how often you'll be expected to work overtime and exactly how you're going to be compensated. If I need to have an "always on" mentality, the company needs to have an "always paying" mentality.

I realize that crunch time is the thing to do in the IT industry, but get clear up front so that kind of work cycle is something you understand when you accept the company's offer. If I need to put in an extra 10 hours every week or be on-call, I'm going to factor that into my salary negotiations. Once the deal is brokered, I'm left with a sense of satisfaction because I have the peace of mind in knowing I'm not being taken advantage of, I'm doing exactly what I signed up for.

Re:Get Clear First (4, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017055)

Actually I believe that constant fire fighting is the mark of a poorly run organization. I would run from a company like this even if I was compensated.

Re:Get Clear First (2, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017363)

I work for the fire department you insensitive clod

Re:Get Clear First (2, Insightful)

staeiou (839695) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017145)

This is the piece of advice that is always thrown around in these kinds of discussions - and for good reason - but it doesn't get you anything more than peace of mind. Yes, you should obviously ask that question in the interview, but that doesn't guarantee you anything. First, it is incredibly easy and tempting for the employer to simply 'underestimate' on such a question, and you will rarely get anything in writing to bind that spoken assurance. Another situation in bigger companies is that the person with whom you're interviewing/negotiating is not actually the one giving you assignments and performance evals. You should ask to talk to your immediate supervisor(s) and get their word on these issues (and other things as well). Finally, corporate cultures can change in an instant. Profits drop, management gets shuffled, consultants are hired, synergy is synergized, policies and regulations are streamlined, and then your 40 hours + 10 hours extra once a month gets turned into 55-60 hours a week every week.

If the company is big enough and you don't have to make a decision on an offer instantly, the best thing you can do is ask for a copy of their employee regulations. If they have a formalized policy on a specific aspect, like overtime pay or on-call hours, then you can have some security in your decision. But if all you have is a pat on the shoulder, a warm smile, and an empty promise, I wouldn't feel too secure.

We do it (1)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016909)

The company I work for started bitching about that I got an hour less than I'm supposed to work in June, but they ignored the fact that I worked more than 12 hours overtime the month before that.
And that's when I started doing exactly 8 hours a day. On the other hand, the company I worked before previously didn't mind at all when I left earlier sometimes: they were very satisfied with my work. Before I left I calculated that I had about 32 hours of overtime after a year of work (ok, not a lot, but still). I know that won't happen when my contract ends with the other company :)

40.1 hours is too much (3, Insightful)

mrsam (12205) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016951)

In what I consider my best career move, more than fifteen years ago I resigned as an employee, and I've worked as a contract IT consultant ever since. Really, made not much of a difference in the kind of work I do, except that I now get paid hourly, rather than on a salary.

Funny how once you start getting paid by the hour, all the demands to work 40+ hours a week disappear all by themselves. When I was an employee, and worked together with consultants, the difference in how we were treated, even though, for all practical matters, we did the same kind of a job -- the difference was quite an eye opener.

But rather than bitch and whine about the raw deal I was supposedly getting, I figured, well, if that's where the wind is blowing, I'll just come along for a ride. So I became a consultant. I do not remember the last time I had to work +40 hours a week. Must've been well over ten years ago. Although I still get the same calls that wake me up in the middle of the night, I now keep track of my time, and make sure that, at the end of the week, I put in, more or less, the same 40 hours.

It's nice having my life back.

Re:40.1 hours is too much (1)

raybob (203381) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017163)

I'm with you, I liked being a contractor also. I felt like I owed a higher degree of professionalism & rapidity, though. Pull that off, and it'll make you shine, and they'll bend over backward to stay out of your way and let you get the work done.

Now, having moved to a full-time position, which I thought I would never do again, I keep the same attitude of 100% heads down, no slacking whatsoever, and man, do they ever show the appreciation for that. I work more than 40, never outwardly show any negative emotion regarding unpleasant maintenance windows or working conditions, and help out my peers.

So maybe how they treat IT folks also has something to do with the attitude you bring to the job. Act like a paid-by-the-hour, high-dollar pro, even if you're 'fulltime', and you'll be treated as such.

Re:40.1 hours is too much (2, Insightful)

Matheus (586080) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017373)

I would have to addenda this. Up until a couple years ago I had that life and that job. I got paid, and well, for the hours I worked and still was able to live my own life (which is WHY I work)

Unfortunately, that only works if the hours keep coming. At some point you reach a critical mass which keeps your hours full and so your bank account but when the hours stopped coming I was hurting bad.. enough so that I eventually had to get a "day job"

Yes, there are bunches of trade-offs but as long as I maintain a spine with my employer it has been a nice load of stress off for a while to see the same nice big number appear in my account ever 2 weeks.

Some day I will return to my wonderful world of freedom but at least for a while I'm loving the indentured servitude that is salary.

The Choice is Simple (3, Informative)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016957)

For me, the choice is simple, I'll do what it takes to get the job done so long as management's expectations and goals assume a 40 hour week. I'll work after my 40 hours if to help out as needs so long as their expection and goal hits that mark. If they every give me grief about being a few minutes late due to traffic, etc... but don't pay me for the 20-30 minutes I worked over the day before, we'll have a problem and I'll never work another second over 5o'clock ever again.

Aside from that, they know the law and if they want something done bad enough to tap over 40 hours, they can pay time and a half, or decide that it can wait until tomorrow.

What I cannot imagine is how an employer can reasonably expect someone to work extra without pay except as part of a "lets keep it friendly and I might need you a little late every now and again and you'll want to ditch out a little early now and again and lets not make a federal case over it" mentality. If you had to contract out work to a plumber, per-se you'd instantly assume they would get paid hourly... period. What I understand even less is geeks who work insane hours knowing their company probably considers them at best, a necessary evil, full well knowing that it is the (legal) responsibility of the employer to either fund enough positions to get the hours of service they feel they need to cover, or fully expect to pay when they use the workers post 40 hour free-time.

I feel that if you are setting the employer's expectation that a technician (or whatever) is willing to work 60 hours' for 40's pay, you're harming all the technicans who do want to pursue outside interests on their own time, and when the day comes that you're ready to scale back to 40... you could have painted yourself into a corner.

In this economy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016969)

Being out of work, I'd just like to say, if you don't want to do it, for whatever reason, I'll do it and I'll be happy about it. I'll jump at the chance to do your job and even take less than what they're paying you. So please, if you're about to quit, post your company's name and hiring manager so I can get there first.

Thank you,
A programmer who has never quite recovered from the 2001-2002 downturn.

Re:In this economy. (1)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017009)

While I understand the general idea of your post, it seems to me like you're making a bad precedent for yourself: once your boss knows that he can ask you to work 60 hour weeks (instead of let's say 40 hours), that will be the standard that you're supposed to work and everything over 60 will be looked at like overtime.

Re:In this economy. (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017171)

A programmer who has never quite recovered from the 2001-2002 downturn.

You're doing something wrong.

Re:In this economy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017311)

Too bad you probablly couldn't do my job.

A better question would be... (5, Funny)

Tryfen (216209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016971)

... How many Post-It Notes can I steal before I'm fired?
One? A pack? A crate?

Working overtime and not being paid is the equivalent of the company stealing your time.

Now, I'm a reasonable guy. I'll go home half an our late and not put in for overtime / TOIL. But you better believe that I'm taking some Post-Its with me.

What about the expected after hours... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017059)

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act says employees must be paid for work performed off the clock, even if the work was voluntary.

At my employer many of the IT staff are expected to work "on the weekends" with no additional compensation. Especially if they are claimed to be managers. So in essence, my management claims that we're always "on the clock."

Re:What about the expected after hours... (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017275)

You work for thieving criminals. There are specific requirement for someone to be salaried exempt. Unless you're making $80k plus, and an IT professional, you cannot be salaried exempt. Unless you really are management, for which you must spent at least half of your time supervising subordinates, and must have "broad discretion" in how you do your job. Also, to be salaried exempt, there cannot be any specific expectation on what hours your work. Only details on what you must get done. The moment they care what hours you work, you are hourly.

The only way to enforce this, of course, is to take it to the labor board or your lawyer. Which is great for everyone else there, after the lawsuits are done, but you'll want to arrange another job before you start the suit for back wages.

Any is too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29017073)

Basically, any is too much. If there's an emergency, go ahead and call I guess -- they should be happy to pay for the time involved though, work is work -- and it should be infrequent enough that it's simply not an issue for them to pay. I would expect more than like once a month to be far too often. If you expect people to be on-call 24/7 you MUST compensate -- either per-hour (cash or comp-time.. this should be at least time-and-a-half really) or a significantly higher salary than you're probably paying.

          You want 24/7 customer support? Suck it up and hire after-hours customer support.
          You think it's a crisis for a system to pack up overnight? Suck it up and hire a night system administrator.
          These can truly be a skeleton crew compared to the day, but no, you can't just expect your workers to keep working when they are off the clock.

          And weave, you MUST show a spine! Tell your boss "I took x hours admining after-hours, I'm leaving x hours early." Or wait for it to build up and take a full day off -- and don't be tricked into doing that but then being called in anyway. If you're understaffed, that's not your problem, that's your bosses problem -- please see the recent articles on InfoWorld about the "Slow IT" movement. Countering the pointy-haired-boss saying "Do more with less", they say "do less with less". That is, if your IT staff's been cut way down, you guys HAVE to cut what you are expected to do to match.

Re:Any is too much (1)

adewolf (524919) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017247)

Yep, manage expectations. Don't let the expectations manage you.

Stuff like this reminds me I'm lucky I love my job (1)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017099)

I really enjoy what I do (web-developer) and I do end up taking a lot of work home with me but I'm still at the age (and the projects are interesting) where I can enjoy it. I can imagine it being an absolute nightmare of having to do something you hate or find boring and then being expected to work late on it for free. It's definitely a difficult area to balance, I guess it comes down to whats in your contract and if you are willing to argue it with your employer. If you do work late and you arent getting paid though, at the very least make them aware you're doing them the favour. Just dont expect it returned.

Ask a lawyer how much they charge for phone calls (1)

goffster (1104287) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017127)

$10 a minute is a "steal"

How do you think the 40 hour week came to be? (1)

patjhal (1423249) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017131)

If you want to change the politics (and its all politics really) get involved. http://www.swt.org/ [swt.org] Its not gonna happen for you unless it happens for everyone.

If only... If only... (1)

Heratiki (943721) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017185)

Take into account that most jobs out there are offering less and less especially for IT positions... And like it was said before make sure your (and your employer's) intentions are 100% clear before taking a job... And unlike 9% of America right now be happy you have a position instead of a cardboard box... Aside from that more individuals need to take legal action against their employers simply because at one time it was a workers market and now it's an employer's market... Incentives used to be the reason you took a job... And they fought for you to come work for them... But look around... Those abandoned buildings aren't because someone is on vacation... Heratiki

I worked for a consulting firm... (1)

spywhere (824072) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017193)

...that was very strict with its clients about expecting off-hours duty from its employees.

They charged clients per day for on-call status, and charged them more for calling us. They passed the money along, so the sound of my work cell ringing was like a cash register. Just being on call, even if nobody did call, was an extra few hundred per week in my check.

In this regard I can't complain (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017223)

I've joked and/or complained about my boss on here occasionally - but in this regard he's excellent. I do sometimes have to work on stuff in the evening, or on a weekend; but I get comp time and am allowed to use it in a timely manner. I can't remember the last time I asked for time off (either comp time or vacation) and was refused.

I don't have the choice of receiving extra pay, which some people would prefer; but I actually prefer the comp time. Heck, if money was my motivation I wouldn't be working at a university...

I know the economy is bad; but the folks who are saying "if you don't like your treatment, look for a new job" are spot on IMHO. Just be aware that there are tradeoffs with any job - in academia the tradeoff is less money for a better work environment.

it's too much when (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017261)

I generally watch my email out of the office and hop on an issue if it's pressing, but I know when I know I've been working too much. It's that stress thing. My boss knows when I've been killing it and working weekends and overtime, she signs my hours every other week. If I'm stressed and working too much I'll tell her straight up, this is too much. I need a break or help or whatever. If you're not willing to work overtime, crunch on a weekend, come in on saturday or sunday once in a while, then this is not the right career for you. Adjust your hours so that a couple nights a week, you work off hours. Every Thursday I work from 12 - 9pm. Gives me a chance to bounce servers, setup workstations, and all the other stuff you'd normally be bugging people about if they were in the office. But yeah, be your own judge of what's too much and if your boss can't accept you won't come in on Sunday after you've already done 10 hours OT and came in on Saturday as well, then your boss is an ass. If you boss is an ass, then talk to his/her superiour or find a different job. A lot of what stresses me out are my other clients, friends/family/associate's PC"s and networks I work on outside of work. But that's where the real good money is so I deal with it and fix VPN tunnels on Sunday instead of taking a nap and send an invoice. If I was smart I'd drop my clients, but they're friends and family and they appreciate my help much more than the corporate dregs.

I thought that was "on call" (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017263)

Maybe I'm showing my age but the last time I worked a job where I was "on call", I got paid 1/4 my hourly rate for the duration of the time I was on call and overtime while working. About 16 hours of pay for a weekend and it usually resulted in not having to do anything. Another place didn't pay an hourly rate but whoever was stuck with "the emergency phone" got paid $250 if they got called in. Plus overtime for the actual hours worked. There were arguments over who got to carry the phone.

I remember my first enounter with a company... (1)

pinguwin (807635) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017291)

They put in their offer that I "would work uncompensated overtime." I asked what this meant and they said that I would be working 48 hours minimum every week and I replied, "and gettting paid for fourty?" and they said that was correct. I got a big grin on my face and said, "So that the following week I work 32 hours and get paid for fourty." They couldn't even crack a smile. I told them to go pound sand.

Let's all be adults (1)

FrozenGeek (1219968) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017327)

I'm an adult. I expect to be treated like one. I realize that situations will arise that require me to occasionally work OT. No problem with that - that's just life. I also realize that situations will arise that require me to take time off work on short notice. I expect my employer to have no problem with that (and, indeed, my boss has no problem with it). The proviso, in both directions, is that it cannot be excessive, either in duration or frequency. As far as always being "on call", that's why G-d invented the off-switch. Or, failing that, the Faraday cage (not for me, for the khest'n cellphone). If I'm on-call for a lot of hours on a regular basis, I expect compensation (you can roll it into my salary, as long as I'm told about it BEFORE I accept the job).

Try Government Contracting (3, Informative)

ZX-3 (745525) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017351)

I'm a software developer on a federal contract. My hours are _capped_ at 80hrs/2wks.

If I have to stay late early in the pay period, I have to leave early later in the pay period. Working extra hours requires advance approval and enough paperwork that it is almost never done. My contracting company faces penalties if they let/force us to work "off the clock". I have been told that this is to prevent preferential treatment in future contract bids (it would not be fair if a company had a reputation for working more than they bill), but I don't know if that's the actual reason. I have also heard that it is because we are at a client site, and cannot work unless government people are there to babysit us, and they rarely work extra hours. Either way, I have a lot more free time, and better pay, compared to when I was in dot-coms.

I'm upfront. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017379)

I've been upfront in interviews. I work 40 hours/week. I get my work done and I don't hang out. I cook dinner every night so I don't have time to be drawn in to an issue because someone else has been procrastinating working the first 7 hours of the day.

If they have a problem with this, I don't consider them.

One big problem are the people who don't want to go home.

easy (1)

Rumagent (86695) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017389)

Does the employer benefit and did he ask for it? If yes and yes, then it is work. There is no such thing as a free lunch - it is a healthy capitalist principle and it works both ways.

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