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How many hours did you work this week?

JonKatz posted more than 14 years ago | from the the-booming-economy's-dirty-little-secret dept.

Technology 583

If you're reading this, you're probably what economists call a "Knowledge Worker," a major element of the new, techno-driven workplace. The government says your average work week is 32.9 hours, and employers enthusiastically agree. Nuts. Thanks to laptops, cellphones, palm pilots and wireless modems, you're probably working nearly all the time, part of every day and night. How many hours do you really work? Post below and read more.

If you're reading this, the odds are shockingly good that you're overworked and underpaid, or, at the very least, not compensated for anywhere near the hours you work.

Government statisticians, media reports and popular mythology make much of the fact that American workers are more productive than ever - the last consecutive quarters of l999 recorded a 5% growth in worker productivity. This rise frequently gets cited as a major reason for the country's long, high-tech inspired economic boom.

In the late l990's, according to economist Stephen S. Roach, productivity sped up fastest in the so-called service sector - transportation, public utilities, trade, finance, insurance, real estate, and a broad array of professional and business services. Collectively, this segment of the economy employs 77% of the workforce that isn't in government or on farms. Contrary to myth, Roach says, these people aren't low-paid, unskilled hamburger flippers and chain-store underclass. Nearly half of them are knowledge workers - like many of the people reading this - now the largest occupational category in America. In fact, almost all tech workers, from programmers to administrators to developers, are knowledge workers.

The government maintains that the average work week in the service sector is 32.9 hours; no different than a decade ago, and five hours shorter than in l964.

Roach and other economists have long argued that these figures are absurd. Surveys by the Labor Department and private pollsters suggest that people in knowledge jobs work a good deal longer. That means lots of knowledge workers aren't getting paid for the work they do.

"The dirty little secret of the Information Age," wrote Roach in Monday's New York Times [you have to join, but it's www.nytimes.com] , "is that an increasingly large slice of work goes on outside the official work hours the government recognizes and employers admit to."

Roach has a very powerful point. Laptops, cell phones and beepers, hand-held computing devices, fax machines and wireless technology mean that tech and knowledge workers can now work all the time - in their cars on the way to and from work, in planes on business trips, in their own homes. Tech and service workers are tied to their workplaces, and can hardly ever escape.

Although few companies openly insist on this, workers who want to remain valuable are understandably driven to work through nights and weekends. If they don't, they know their colleagues and co-workers might be. People hard- wired into their work are commonplace in the tech workplace, a particularly challenging environment for obsessive personalities. In fact, new technology has nearly obliterated all of the traditional lines between office and home, work and leisure time. This is a phenomenal boon to employers and companies, who get more work than ever for less cost. In that context, almost all non-entrepeneurial workers in the so-called knowledge workplace are almost surely underpaid.

College students report something of the same phenomenon - technology keeps them studying, socializing, messaging and researching much of the time, much more than is acknowledged by school administrations.

In fact, this round-the-clock work ethic is an integral part of the high-tech economy. Does anyone reading this actually work 33 hours a week? Or even 40?

Postal employees, cops and assembly-line and factory workers can boost their incomes by working overtime. But how can knowledge workers, who are already working most of the time? Workers who think for a living have a hard time boosting their efficiency.

Beyond that, there are numerous social and health implications: fatigue, stress, single-mindedness, and lack of balance and recreation in life.

Perhaps the toughest thing about being a round-the-clock knowledge worker is that you can't even acknowledge it. The rest of the world, including media and government, thinks you've got it made.

Question: How many hours do you work each week? Is it remotely close to what the government says?

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important comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268426)


Too damn many! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268427)

I consult and including my travel time I average 65 hours a week. Overworked and underpaid. And Delta has a vendetta against me I think.

32.9 hours, my ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268428)

Last week I put in 42.5, but only because I was sick Monday. The week before was 57 hours. I'm not looking any further back than that, it's too depressing. I know I was putting in 65+ hours getting ready for Y2K. If I get off on time today (not freaking likely) I'll have 31 hours already this week. What happened to all that leisure time these computer systems were going to make for me?

_this_ week... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268429)

How many hours did i work this week?
Monday was valentine's day... so I've spent more hours having sex than working this week :)

Hours: 30-120 /week. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268430)

Current job average: 50 (security/crypto)
10 hrs/week actual work
10 hrs/week meetings
10 hrs/week reading email
20 hrs/week research
Hours varied 30-60/week

Previous job average: 80 (pc games, engines/tools lead)
Hours varied 60-120/week.
Crunch time was hell, stupid companies made this stretch for 2-3 months. Burning people out cheaper than hiring more.

One fun rule - as quality of management decreases, programmers work increases.

Hours in a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268431)

Last week I put in 49 hours. (not including the 14 hours I put in yesterday) But on average, I have been working 41.3 hours a week (including vacations). I CERTAINLY do not work 33 hours a week. Maybe if I were a consultant, this would be possible as an average.

put me down for 50 or 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268432)

I just did a job search, and the only people
who offered less than 50 were lying.

Neal [visi.com]

Re:yeah, so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268433)

What about the pimply-faced dude who works at taco bell and then comes home and does something challenging? (coding, art, whatever...)

I mean, why give away your life to The Man?

PS. Why is slashdot so slow during the day? You'd think things would be getting better with VA Linux running the show. :(

How many hours do I work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268434)

32.9 hours a week, eh? Sure, that's pretty much how many I work, just like the government maintains. I forgot to mention, though, that each of my "hours" is 120 minutes long! Freaking clueless government...I was specifically told by my management that, although my paycheck lists me as working 40 hours, our corporate "culture" expected between 50 and 60. In practice, I work over 70 on a regular basis.

Weekly Hypkatzcracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268435)

Okay. So multinational global corporations are evil. The government is evil.

Now information companies are evil, and need to be regulated by the evil government...

You know, Katz is a Communist.

unskilled hamburger flippers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268436)

I agree with a lot of this. At my company have spent a lot of my spare time developing my skills and technical knowledge. You would think this would lead to a higher wage or a better deal at the workplace but it seems to have the opposite effect. As I am the only one with knowledge of the systems we use I also have the responsibility for working with them. This means it's me who has to work all night to get something running for the next day. As for the "unskilled hamburger flippers" I sometimes catch last orders at McDonalds at 3am if I am working real late, the guys working there are earning more per hour than I am. Sometimes I think this knowledge is a curse, I wish I could just say "Sorry, no idea how to do that", go home, watch TV or go out for a few beers. I think you can come out on top in the end if you work as a contractor and charge an extortionate hourly rate, but to get that kind of experience the 60 - 80 hour week seems compulsory... Just try to strike a deal where you get compensated for it... Ayjay..

HAHAH! 35 hours a week ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268437)

No, the kind of work I do, not in a million years. I work as a Private Investigator/System Admin/Armed personal/etc... I work approx. 90 - 115 hours a week. My boss has been doing it for over 15 years, and puts in 130 hours a week. Now, I know there is going to be eveyone under the sun says that this is BS. Its not. I wish it was, trust me. I rarely get sleep. But, if you want to make the "bucks", you have to put the time in. Life sucks, right ?

I live/work in Europe - 37.5 hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268438)

In Europe it is ILLEGAL to work more than a certain number of hours. Fortunately Europeans make up for this by working smarter, not harder. dmg

Re:Going independent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268439)

How does this work. Are you better off ? Getting paid more is beacause you have more overheads.

How do you compare contract rates with permanent rates ?

Geez, you guys need a new job! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268440)

I am an application programmer. I am at work 40 hours a week. Every once in a great while I may stay a little late in case we are installing something I wrote that could mess up the system. It has never happened, but you never know. I don't wear a MF beeper and no one at work has my cell phone number. I don't do hardware or sysadmin type stuff at work (only at home). In this economy there is NO REASON anybody should be working 60 hours a week. Grow a spine, put your foot down. Tell the PHB to get some more help or you will walk. If you do have to quit, it will take about 30 minutes to get a new job and you will probably double your salary!

Why does it matter how much time I work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268441)

If I take 10 hours to do something and some one else takes 40 hours to do the same task, then I shouldn't be short changed by my employer because I am more efficent. How many hours you work a week doesn't matter except to the people whose only job is to manage those doing the real work. So businesses, want to save some money? Get rid of those middle management types (who are over paid anyway).

The question isn't how many hours I work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268442)

Its how many hours I actually get to sleep. On good nghts its about 5 hours a night. Other than that, every waking moment usually has to deal with work.

Forced Overtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268443)

At our job site, we were told that "10% overtime was expected in 2000" (i.e. 44 hrs). A co-worker questioned this. Where's our extra 10% pay, if 44 hrs was now considered a base week? A project lead spoke up to say that 44 hrs sounded like a vacation to him and called him a whiner. The company has stated that our bonuses and ratings may be negatively affected by less of an effort. They have even suggested that our jobs may be at stake. I asked what our motivation was to work this extra time. "You like your job, don't you?" was the answer I got.

Of course, there has been nothing in writing about this, but it has been mentioned at our bi-monthly team meetings since November.

What about vacation time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268444)

What's getting me lately is not just that my employer wants me to work every minute of every waking hour, but that they don't seem to want to give anything back. I would be much more willing to work a 60 hour week if I could get, say, comp time, or another week of vacation during the year. Sorry, but 10 days vacation for 40-80 hours of in-depth image processing just doesn't cut it anymore. I'm on my way out.

What's more is that at my current job there's no profit sharing. If I bust my ass, and the company gets the job done on time, or ahead of time - I still get paid the same. If I write some code that we later sell for millions, I still get my usual salary. I have friends at start-ups who work these hours because they have stock in the company and know that if they make the company a lot of money, it will pay off. I don't have that setup where I work.


Macho Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268445)

It's not going to get any better as long as so
many people (just read the posts) think they
are cool and macho putting in lots of hours.
These are probably the same folks who sneered
at the idea of reading a book (see the review
of "The Pragmatic Programmer". "Just code more,
that's how you get to be a better programmer."

More than 32 hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268446)

I actually usually escape from the office at the end of the week with only 45-50 hours on the clock.

But on the other hand, the boss is clued, and actually understands how to schedule so that the "crunch" at deadlines is usually only 2-3 days of late nights (every 2-3 months), and almost all of that is spent doing low-stress stuff like polishing documentation and verifying that the tarballs unpack like they're supposed to. I love my job, and I love my work environment.

Re:What counts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1268447)

exactly! If I counted the hours that I spend thinking about work related stuff, its more like 20/day. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think..."Did I just have a dream about a bug fix?"

I work... (1)

valis (947) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268618)

About 32-35 hours a week. So that statistic must be right on.

Of course I'm also a full time student (20 credit hours).


Why is this the case? (4)

Masem (1171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268620)

I believe it's due to two factors: First, the IT field is made up by a lot of young ( Second, most of these workers are probably single. Life outside of work, they're not expected to have by management.

I also think that there is no union as far as I know within tech workers.

I wouldn't go as far as suggesting a union, but something needs to be done; the workers need to stand up and REFUSE to work unpaid overtime, or have a time where the beeper will not go off, or anything else like that. The fact that 'spineless' IT workers has been the norm means that we need to fight against that. If you are going to be working 60 hrs/wk (and you might enjoy that), make sure you get paid for 60hrs and not 30. Demand vacation time, make sure they know you have interests outside of work, and that you don't necessarily live and breath their work ethic.

But as with everyone else employed, I'd know I'd be afraid to approach my bosses with such requests. That's why there needs to be some collective effort, maybe lead by those IT workers already engrained in the system so that *they* can fight for better pay and offtime for workers.

Re:Average of 60 hours (5)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268623)

That is the heart of it, really. The people who work daft hours do it because they want to, or because they start out that way and then feel guilty about cutting back.

We (skilled computer types) are a very rare resource compared with demand and can easily set reasonable hours as part of our package, especially at big companies. I leave the office at 5.30 every day, unless I'm doing something fun and I'd rather stay late to finish it in one go.

Yes, at small companies people tend to work later to meet the deadlines. But that's because the industry is incapable of good project management, and because in many small (and large) companies employees feel very loyal, and really want to ship stuff on time.

There are very few places (in my experience of the UK market) that will have a problem with someone who says 'Sorry, I have a family and I only work my contracted hours'. Of course, if they then also spend 2 hours a day reading slashdot, then sure the boss won't be happy.

And that's another thing. Alot of people work very inefficiently, so the hours stretch out. Think of all the times you started out looking for documentation on a troublesome driver and ended up spending an hour reading about the latest developments in something else.

So, yes, there are lots of people who stay in the office alot, but it's not a case of exploitation (of course in some cases it may be, but not as an industry).

Hmm... in a dream world (1)

tolldog (1571) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268627)

I know that when my company is in production, I am lucky to get out with a 10 hour day... and no weekends... most of the time that isn't the case. I also know that members of our IT staff has had to put in similar hours. When production is over though, we are able to have a few weeks at sane hours.

Dark when I get in, dark when I leave. (1)

Simon Carr (1788) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268629)

Of course it's winter in Canada, but you get it. I like my job, and I'm all for a strong work ethic, but most people have a breaking point.

How many people do you know that were literally thinking of leaving the computer industry alltogether? I am, but I'm not good at anything else (um, legal ;)

College and Computers (2)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268632)

College students report something of the same phenomenon - technology keeps them studying, socializing, messaging and researching much of the time, much more than is acknowledged by school administrations.

Huh? I think it's the other way around. I've found after five years of school now, that I do less studying, socializing, and researching because of my computer. I can get what I need to have done faster, because I can sort through huge amounts of data in a single search, can type with a spellchecker running, and turn in assignments online. It's freed up a lot of time to do non studious things. Actually, I'm an architecture student, so it's freed up more time to mess with designs, but for us architecture students, that is non studious time.

On a side note, I work in IT as well. When you're paid hourly, you work 40 hours a week or less (no one wants to pay IT overtime costs), but when you move into salary (as I did last summer), you suddenly end up working more. But you know, the important thing isn't how much you work, it's how happy you are with your job. I may have been working 50-60 hours a week, but it didn't feel like it, and it's a lot more fun than most other jobs. It's not like I was forced into it.

Current Situation (2)

backtick (2376) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268633)

Let's see, since I left my last job because I was on call 24/7 for months, let's check my new job (which is MUCH less stressful), since it'd logically follow I'm working less and happier:

Theoretical Workday: 8 AM till 5 PM, 1 hour lunch

Real World: Starts at 7:30 AM (I have a 8 AM conference call to discuss the daily schedule with employees in other phyical locations, and I HAVE to have read email and checked calendars by then. How else would I know what's changed since I quit work the day beofre?).

I get about 15 minutes for a lunch, since my lunch hour is usually sucked up by other employees hunting me down and saying "Hey, since you have a few minutes...". Oh, and I generally eat in front of my computer.

Then I work straight thru till the end of the business day. Then things get interesting. I have to check emails throughout the evening to see if people in other timezones are finally replying to my emails or voice mails from earlier in the day, since I need that info for the next morning's call.

And of course I carry a business cell phone/pager, which means my phone rings anytime up until 11 PM or so as some other employee who's working late realizes they need something from me, or someone wants to complain that their email is running slow (It's NOT the email server! It's a 4 MB Powerpoint doc, and you are on a 56k modem!!!).

33 hours a week? I wish. Notice, I didn't even MENTION weekends! See, there's that cell phone, and powerpoint docs don't download any faster on weekends...

Re:Well... (2)

PG13 (3024) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268639)

Be carefull. The article said:

The average number of hours worked in the service sector is 32.9

Most people in the service sector are knowledge workers.

Computer programmers etc.. are knowledge workers.

We can neither conclude that

Most computer programmers are in the service industry

Or that this statistic in any way is supposed to represent that of computer proffesionals

no less than 43 (1)

Mickey Jameson (3209) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268643)

Back in the days when I was an hourly employee roughly 4 years ago, I used to regularly pull 60 hour weeks. The company realized my loyalty and dedication, gave me a few dollar/hr raise and stuck me on salary. Since then, I've gradually lessened my hours to the point I drive myself insane if I work more than 43, the minimum number of hours we have to work per week.
I've accumulated hundreds and hundreds of "comp" time, enough to take 2 solid months off, but I take on average 10 hours a year. With the huge amount of hours I've put in above and beyond the call of duty, I'm actually making less now than I was 4 years ago.
I love what I do. I just hate where I do it.

Yeah it's absurd (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268650)

I've been an "information worker" for 20 years and the average work week is a minimum of 40 hours and more likely 60 hours a week.

This means you: (0)

Byteme (6617) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268659)

If you're reading this, you're probably just reading it to see why Jon Katz bothered to post such a lame topic.

a brief history of work... (5)

ilkahn (6642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268661)

when i was young, and my father had already made it in the professional world as an executive, it always amazed me the amount of moneyt hat they paid him, because even though he was in the office 60 hours a week, he was still making like 90 dollars an hour... i would ask him, "dad, i have been to your office, all that you do is sit around, talk on the phone, and think about stuff... you don't lift heavy things, you don't build anything, nothing! how can you possibly be worth the insane ammount they are paying you?" and he would say: "simple, when a janitor goes home, the work stays at work. when a builder goes home, the work stays at work. for me, there is no difference between home and work." and i never really understood that...

flash forward about 10 years or so, i am now the CTO of an internet startup, getting paid way more than i "deserve" by my old scale, and yet all i do is, sit on the phone, talk to the people that work for me, talk to the people i work for, and think... and for me, there is no difference between home and work. i understand now what my father told me so many years ago...

when you are paid to think, there isn't an amount of hours that you "work" if you are good at your job, and if you are successful at it, at least in part, you are always at work, you are always thinking about how you can make something a little bit faster, how you can set up a strategic partnership, or whether payroll checks will bounce or not.

so to answer the question, how many hours a week do I work, i argue, i work all of the hours i am awake, and even some of those when i am asleep, for my job, even visits me in my dreams...

Re:What counts? (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268663)

[ ] All the time you spend thinking about work.

In many cases, this may be a lot lower than all the other numbers...


The statistic is composed mostly of compost (2)

deusx (8442) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268668)

I've worked anywhere from 100 hours to 40 hours in a work week, and I think if I were to take all of my work weeks since leaving university, it would average to around 50-55 hours average.

Now, if I added in the time I spend THINKING and working in my head (which I contend is something like 75-90% of all good hacking) I think that figure would jump up to a steady 80 hours a week.

You know, I don't think there's much time when I just leave the office at the office and am completely free to go do something else. Maybe I'm one of those obsessive personalities challenged by the work place, but then so are most of my co-workers. Hell we work out algorithms on fricken bar napkins sometimes.

Granted, part of it is the love of the game-- er I mean craft. But still, a little realism is needed here.

I have *never* worked 32.5 hours in a week-- except when the company I was working at close the office and laid everyone off before the week was done in order to avoid a full final paycheck.

And although there's love, that doesn't mean my employer should get to bask in my loving rays for free or for the price of a pizza delivery boy. No joke. On one project, I worked 100 hours a week for 3 weeks. I figured out my theoretical hourly rate from my salary and worked out that I'd make more around the corner delivering pizza.

70+ hours (1)

andrews (12425) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268694)

I'd believe a government worker putting in 32 hours, but not an IS type in the private sector. I do 45 to 50 (when everything's working right) at my "day" job (network engineer), then spend another 20 to 30 a week at my ISP.

Those government figures aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

Not yet living in the Real World (1)

pulp (12838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268695)

I'm still in school, not working (aside from a few hours of work study each week), but I've noticed the same thing happening among some of my friends.

One of them (let's call him Smitty) is working for Yet Another Upcoming IPO (lets call it Bunghole.com) for a salaried 37 or so hours a week. He generally spends upwards of 70 hours a week at work; a couple of weeks ago, he stayed at his workplace for five days straight, sleeping in his office and putting in something like 90 hours.

Smitty's employers have actually complained to him about not working "satisfactory hours," when he had the gall to work something like 45 hours for a few weeks.

This is the weird world I'm looking at, from my college dorm and Quake-happy LAN, and I'm realizing that while I had no idea, when I was 16 or 17, what a CS job would be like, this ain't what I imagined.

Huh? (5)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268705)

33 Hours a week? That's definitely a joke if you work with computers (or any kind of technology). Not even counting the beeper time that a lot of folks don't deal with, that's an unrealistically low figure.

I officially work 37.5 hours a week -- that's what I get paid for. In reality it's more like 50 or 60, what with never eating lunch and leavin an hour or two late every day ("just one more thing!").

I find it bizarre that the government would base statistics on what employers report their professional employees working -- this is a class that doesn't get overtime and thus is generally easy to add "just a little more" work to.

Not that I'm complaining, I enjoy my job and it pays better than most of my friends in college have (except those who are just now graduating law school! (g)). But we shouldn't officially pretend that everyone in America is getting home at 4 in the afternoon...

Should i count the time i spend on slashdot? (1)

freq (15128) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268706)

I would say i work about 60 hours a week, but if you count "slashdot" time, i would say that number is closer to 50 :)

Hmm, I would like to work 32.6 hours a week... (1)

Spruitje (15331) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268707)

Normally at 8:06 I take the train to Amsterdam.
At 8:45 I take the metro from Amsterdam CS to where I work.
Around 09:00 I arive here, and with a lunchbreak from 12:30 till 13:00 i'll work till 17:50.
I'm arive at home around 19:00.
This is a normal day.
But most of the time I leave at 18:50.
And because of the time difference between LA and Amsterdam, I get phonecalls after 20:00 from LA when there are some problems with our Metaframe and database server.
Second, because most server maintenance has to be done after working hours, I find that at home I spend a lot of time on working from home in the evening (sometimes till 23:00).
If you count the travel time on average I haven't much sparetime.
What I also found out is that I have 26 holidays.
Last year I had 11.5 left.
This means that theoretically I can take 37.5 days off.
This isn't possible because I am responsible for the network and all servers (sysadmin).
And because it is very hard to find an extra sysadmin here in The Netherlands I think that if i'm lucky I can get 5 days off this year...

Remotely (2)

EricWright (16803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268714)

Yeah, I usually put in right at 40 hrs/wk, but I have only been working for 4 months (just out of grad school) and am programming business applications. Not exactly the high-stress portion of the "knowledge-worker" demographic.

In a way, I guess I am working on a remotely similar level, if by remotely you mean same order of magnitude!


Paid for 20, work 60: Life as a grad student (2)

grunkhead (17250) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268718)

As a grad student in the sciences at the U of Minnesota, we are officially half-time employees, paid for 20 hours of work. The official policy is that time in excess of those 20 hours is unpaid independent research. What happens, though, is grad students are routinely exploited: my job now involves computer and equipment maintenance, lifting and moving, and random toadying. There's some research, too.

I'm not bitching about it. I knew what I was getting into. Anyone have tales of advisor abuse out there?

About working Hours (1)

XtBart (18168) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268721)

Just did some calculation here and seems
that my average is about 74 hours per week.
A lot? maybe, but i know lot of people who
work maybe even 90 hours per week.


Work where you want (1)

ugglan (21001) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268724)

The most important thing to recognize is the fact that this has nothing to do with technology enabling us to work remotely. When your work mainly concerns creative, intellectual work such as programming, systemsdesign etc, 50-90% of the job is done in your head. No need for computers, pda's or even paper (but the latter often really comes in handy).

My point is that whenever your work consists of problemsolving you are at work 24 hrs a day and you better make sure your employer knows this. If you don't you'll be stuck in front av a terminal at least 8 hrs a day and, at least for me, that is definiatly not the most productive place in the world. Take a walk, have a coffee. Then later when the ideas are in place, enter codeflow and a big session infront of the computer. But make sure you're paid for both parts of the show!

My week. (2)

angelo (21182) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268725)

Well, since I'm working two jobs in the tech field, I just thought I'd give a breakdown.

Most of my weekdays involve me getting up at 6am and driving to work. I arrive at 7:30 and catch up on my email and Slashdot and the other 3 sites I visit regularly. This lasts until I find something useful to do, or until I go home. This is what you refer to as a "deadend" job. Nothing to do, can't do anything interesting in other departments (such as marketing) as you are "tied" to your structure. Feh I say.

The other part of my time I spend at my first job working for the new job in a media startup. Setting up server configs on paper, doing market-type research, sketching web designs and the like are common tasks. I don't feel bad about doing this, since the other job doesn't pay me yet, and I want to do something to avoid passing out from ennui.

I then drive 1.5 miles to my other, newer job. This one I hope will pan out. I spend about anywhere from 5-7 hours there and go home. Lately I've been there for at most 3-1/2 since I'm burning out fast.

In total, I usually spend from 7am to 9:30pm away from home. Sometimes I get home by 8:00 if I'm really tired. I can't be die-hard for a job I don't get paid for, but I kinda like it anyways.

My primary job rarely gets into my personal time, and my other job is almost a focused obsession. If I get paid regularly for the second job, I would quit the Old job in an instant. However, I have an apartment, a car, and other sundry payments to make. I miss going to my martial arts classes most of all. I feel week for it. However, they are early evening classes, and the distance from Cranberry Twp. to Pittsburgh is about 30 miles, making things all the more complicated.

Add it up, and I am either commuting or at work for approx 14 hours a day for a total of 70 hours per week. Aah, the things we do for quality of life.

How Many Hours? (1)

dvicci (22294) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268728)

For my Real Job, anywhere from 40 to 50 hours/week. For my Play Job (see URL), anywhere from 20 to 30 hours/week... and growing. I expect my Real Job to diminish some, while my Play Job grows a bit more real.

Why do it? (1)

soop (22350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268729)

Ok, well I am an administrator for THE telco in Canada, now I am not union nor am I a contractor, but needless to say I am required to put in a 37.5hr work week, and over the summer I was working from 7am - 3am. and I have had jobs where I have put in 90hr work weeks, and in every single case of extra hours where it has been unpaid, that has been my choice, I have yet to truly encounter a position where I get ragged on for saying umm no sorry can not do it I have a life you know, or just confining my work to my work hours.

I have a friend who constantly insists on working from 8am - 11pm, does he have to do this? admittedly no ... does it make him look better ... maybe ... does it get him further ahead ... good question, its all a personal choice, to those of you working 90hr work weeks, do you have to do this? Do you have to be the keener always plugging away at home on a project, do you have to be the one who stays the extra hour or two to look good to his boss?

You work the extra time because you choose to not because you have to ... if you are not happy with it say *no* see what happens when you get a spine. Sure you might be able to counter with "oh well if i dont put in the extra time the work won't get done" well if thats the case get paid for it, and if they won't pay you for it then maybe it is because you are not capable of doing the work in the time alotted and maybe you need a career change.

I don't see why you complain about it, fact of that matter is if you are not happy with something change it

Close but not real (1)

ansa (26988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268738)

I found this average wrong, at least here in Italy: the real average here is around 40 hours/week, which means 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday;
the bad thing is that for employers is better having 1 person working 60 hours than 2 persons working 30 hours each, because they pay less taxes this way!
personally I think that spare time is quickly becoming a luxury, especially now that you can do your work online almost everywhere and everytime.
As a system administrator, I refused to work outside the usual work time (9:30 to 17:30) and to use pagers or similar for emergencies unless they tripled my salary, and obviously they didn't...
All this because I find my private life much more important than work, which gives me the money to live and some sort of gratification when I do a good job, but nothing else!
After all, working less hours and having more free time should be considered a kind of social progress... and in Y2K we should be a little more advanced in this field, considering that we're stuck into that 40 hours since 1960.

>40 hours?? I wish! (1)

RabidMonkey (30447) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268745)

I currently work, if I'm lucky, about 10 hours a week. My time sheet says 37.5, but I only actually work about 10 of those hours. Now, don't get me wrong. I WANT to work more. I ASK for work, I beg for it.

The problem where I work is that management doesn't understand the fact that I'm competant at my job - when they give me my work to do, they expect it to take x hours. I tend to do it in x-50 hours, then I sit around and read /. all day long.

I long for a job where I have to work from home ... where I actually learn things instead of forgetting.

From what I've seen, this is the case in many large companies. Management dumps a the work on a workforce that is too large in some depts, which spreads what is to be done thinly. The fact that I'm a contractor doesn't help either. The FT staff tends to get to do the 'fun' stuff like building servers and installing new toys, while I get to the boring background stuff ('What was your ID again?').

So, in closing, I say this - SOMEONE, GIVE ME SOME WORK!

education and work (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268747)

See, officially, I put in right about 40 hours a week. That's in the office. What I find that eatsd up the most of my time is the keeping up to date. Now, the line here gets blurry, because I like to keep techonolically up to date anyways, but am I doing it for work or pleasure? Recently, I have seen myself doing it more for work and spending less time doing things that are clearing not work related. I have recently had several weeks where, if you counted my off hours that I worked on research for work, I was pushing 80 hours. Normally, though, it would be right around 60, including the offhours.

Really, if you love learning about tech, and you would do it anyways, and often work and pleasure overlap (I am a unix admin integrating linux into our environment, and I love linux), where is the line? I don't like to stop learning, even when I am not being paid for it.

32 is a reachable goal (1)

joshamania (32599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268753)

I generally work about 40ish hours a week, give or take 3. I make a point of not spending every waking minute at work. I also make a point of having my productivity and reliablity at a higher quality than everyone I work with. If you want to get paid like a rock-star, you have to work like one. But getting paid isn't everything.

Realize that your hours off in a day are very valuable to you. You are paying for those hours by not being at work, so if you get paid $30/hour, you pay $30 for every hour you do not work. Spend your free time wisely, and also consider spending money to increase your free time.

If it takes you two hours to do your laundry every week, but only cost you $30 to have someone else do it, PAY TO HAVE YOUR LAUNDRY DONE. Same goes for many other things. If you are a knowledge worker, chances are you're making some good scratch, so live a little and pay to have done the things you don't like to do.

Now that you've taken some free time back from life, take some from work as well. Most bosses worth working for are willing to accept the fact that productivity is more important than showing the flag. Get your goals for the day from the boss, and finish them. Then maybe get something else, and finish it. Then tell your boss that you've finished everything that you need to finish and are taking off. Just leave. If they have a problem with it, then you're going to have a heart to heart.

Time off is as good as money, so when you get your next raise, ask for a couple more personal days. Be satisfied with only a 6% raise and maybe a few "I'll look the other way if you want to take off early's". Free time, in my mind, can be as good, if not better, than cash. It clears my mind and often makes me MORE PRODUCTIVE. I make a point of getting much time off, and off the books, and it has been very good to me. My suggestion is that you, the reader, do the same.

Of course, opinions are like assholes...everybody's got one.

Before or after... (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268756)

How many hours do you really work?

Would that be before or after you deduct time wasted on slasdot?

Er (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268765)

Why the "If you're reading this" -- not everyone who reads Slashdot is part of the tech industry.

Having said that, I am. I'm also a full-time student. I'm at school 16 hours a week, and working 24 hours a week. But I do draw a fine line between my workday and the rest of my day and I rarely do anything work-related when I'm not on the clock.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

I work ~40 hours a week... but... (1)

Sun Tzu (41522) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268771)

I'm on call an average of 31 hours a week and have weeks where I work closer to 60. Fortunately, those are rarer than they used to be.

With this same employer some years ago, I would get called at all hours of the night with no compensation whatsoever. My housemate hated several of our operators personally, since she typically answered the phone.

So, my situation has drastically improved in recent years. At least I'm paid for being on call now. (I'm a system administrator, previously a programmer/analyst).

I have to agree with 33 (1)

mykey2k (42851) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268773)

Thinking of all the of-working-age, able-bodied, non-farming individuals in the United States, I have to agree that the number is near the 33 to 35 hour range.

Sure, you have the break-neck houred people who work 168 hours a week, but you also have the part-timers, moms (or dads) that take a job while the kids are at school for a couple hours a day, a couple days a week - for maybe 10 hours a week for "spending money."

There are the salaried people who don't care if their job isn't done at the end of 8 hours. They'll start it tomorrow when they get it promptly at 9. If they get in before 9, they'll leave before 5. (Assuming 8h/5d week. There are some who do 10h/4d weeks as well.)

And I can only believe I left out a great deal of people who work less than 40 hours a week to fulfill their job.

I work only 40 hours a week. Everyone here works 40 hours a week. The whole company works 40 hours a week (rotating shifts where necessary). Then again, the company for which I work has been around since the late 1800's and is not a technical company.


37-40 hours at my job (1)

georgeha (43752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268775)

But then things are a little slow right now.

At home, maybe 10-15 hours a week working on my computers, my network and writing.

That's not counting independent time when I'm reading Linux books.


It is necessary (1)

HMV (44906) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268781)

I have never met anyone at the top of their field who got there by being a 9-to-5 clockwatching kind of guy or gal. It helps to love what you're doing to put in more than what is "required", but those extra hours are most often the seeds to your personal development.

If you are content where you are, put in the 40 hours. I'm not advocating 80+ hour weeks...balance in all areas is necessary. If you work too much, you will probably not have what you want in family or social areas. If you only work enough to get by, though, your career and financial goals will likely not be met. It's tough to find the right balance between your personal development and your goals outside of career, but it is possible. I'm grateful to have an employer who recognizes and cultivates that.

Its interesting that people get upset when they are asked to put in over 40 h/w. They are already working until sometime on Tuesday (or Wednesday if you're a high-achiever) for someone else and not themselves, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone as much as a few extra hours do.

Six figures isn't worth your life (5)

xtal (49134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268783)

This is something that I've thought about for awhile now.. most of the places I've worked have been chronically understaffed in the technical department (this does not seem to carry over to marketting, however). It's my personal belief that shoddy software coming from a lot of places is a direct result of this - but that's another issue.

How many people have stopped to think about what they make per hour? Especially if you don't get overtime? If you're working 15-20 more hours a week, then there's obviously either a problem with you, or the tasks you're being asked to do.

Some employers get it - IBM is one of them - that long hours != high productivity. I personally think I'd be a more effective programmer if I was only in the office for 4 hours a day - most of my planning for programs I do in my head while I'm doing other things, then, when I go to write code, I sit down and go hardcore. The only exception is debugging a serious problem - that could take a few weeks in a large system.

Take a look at what you're taking home and see if the lack of a life is worth it. I like playing with my own stuff, and what's the good of having money for cool toys if you have no time to play with them! :)

Don't let bosses take away your life just because they think they can take advantage - and if you're working 20 hours overtime a week, you're getting screwed. If you need money, ask for more money & less time. Lots of places are cluing in.


Average of 60 hours (1)

cyphunk (49992) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268785)

I would agree... I work on average 60 hours a week....
But that is just because I am a lunatic and enjoy working like crazy.

Ha, more bullshit from the government (2)

Kythorn (52358) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268790)

I have got to believe the average's closer to 60,if not higher, from my own experiences, and those of the overwhelming majority people I know.

Going independent (3)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268791)

In the Uk more and more people in the IT sector are becoming contractors (working for a one person company, CEO = themselves), there is a minor tax glitch comming up (called IIR35) but even so the tax situation is pretty good. You get paid on average around 50% more, and most of the time you get overtime. With 000s of unfilled jobs its about time people in IT started dictating their conditions, remember you can get a job with your companies competitor, they'll have a harder time getting a replacement than you had getting that new job.

"Working" Hours (2)

akiy (56302) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268792)

I've been known to put in 50-60+ hour weeks when necessary, but I do wonder just how many of those hours were spent "working" by reading personal e-mail, browing websites, reading (eek) Slashdot, and so on...

Still, I'd have to say that my typical work week must contain at least 40 "real" working hours. Even when I'm learning PHP and mySQL on my FreeBSD server, it's still enhancing my knowledge for stuff I do at work, too. And heck, reading Slashdot has been beneficial for work, too -- I just need to figure out why...

I hope none of my employers read this...

Value added (1)

Ristoril (60165) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268800)

What it really comes down to is what amount of the value one adds to the products one contributes to does one capture? I work 40 hours a week, straight up, and I am hacking code most of the time I'm not reading /.. I am underpaid, because I know what the products I'm working on are worth, how many people are working on them, their average salaries, etc., and it doesn't add up. So, I goof off sometimes.

Oh, and if you think that working hard, late nights, weekends, etc. is going to make you 'more valuable' than the guy who works 9-5 every day, you're fooling yourself. When it comes time to 'cut costs' you and he look just the same to the guy with the axe. Ask anyone who's been around a company when hard times are coming. The smartest people are those who are looking for other jobs while their 'loyal' cow-orkers are 'proving how valuable they are,' and when all of them get fired, the former has a job lined up, and the latter is out on his ass.

Time spent reading Slashdot (2)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268817)

Folks, I really don't think that time at work that you spend reading slashdot really counts as work.

Lets see. That cuts my work day down to 2-3 hours, I work maybe 12 hours a week?

Im thinking 60+ is more accurate (1)

Hardwyred (71704) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268822)

I easily put in 40 at the office during downtime between projects. But once a project gets rolling, its not uncommon to come in at 8, eat lunch at the desk, and the next time I look at the clock its 8 again and the night crew has arrived. Not to mention going home and VPNing back into work to keep right on going.

Too many... (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268823)

I never realized how much I was working until the HR department called down the other day to my boss to ask how it was possible I was turning in 10-20 hours of overtime every paycheck. To be honest I never really think about it. Once I get going on something I usually don't stop until I've got it figured out. I bought a watch, but never use it. None of my computer clock are even remotely close to having the same time. To this "Knowledge Worker" let the weanies in HR worry about overtime and people working to much, that's their job, not mine.

Re:I work... (1)

rlowe69 (74867) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268832)

40 hours at work and another 20 at home during this co-op "work term" .... when I'm in school it's 25-30 hours of classes and labs, another 15 of homework/studying and the remainder of the time on side projects. Ahh, the life of a future engineer. (what's a social life> ?)

But I figure: "Hey, I'm 22 now and I won't be able to pull this off when I'm 40!". Burn out while you still can. =)

Payed for working or being at work? (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268836)

The trouble here is that employers are still measuring work effort by how many hours you spend at the office, not how much work you get done.
Therefore you get paid the same amount for a 40-hr week no matter if you in reality work 30 or 60 hours.

The solution might be to try to measure work done and pay for that, or simply say that you get paid for 40 hrs no matter how much or how little time you spend at the office.

Bwaaaahhaaaa (1)

Zamis (81530) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268840)

32.9 hours a week!!!

Not a chance, More like 55-60 on a easy week.

And what about those nights sleeping in the machine room when everything goes to fsck.

(hee hee, not a bad pun there)

Work hours (5)

Pfhreakaz0id (82141) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268841)

Man, I've went off on this more times then I can count. Many right here on Slashdot.

People look at me like I'm crazy when I say I only want to work 40 hours per week. When I interviewed for my latest job, I said this in interviews, word for word: "If you're looking for somebody to work 45 or 50 hours per week, don't hire me. I have to get home to my real job, being a husband and a father." Result? I'm sure I lost out on some positions. Instead took a job with a consulting firm that now (3 months later) does what? Pressures we to bill more than 40 hours a week!

As for after hours work? I've done it a few times to get something done, but I bill it and try to take comp time. Mostly, I'll surf or play games or study for a certification test if I get on the computer.

We work more hours per year here in the USA than in almost all industrialized nations. And then we wonder why our divorce rate is so high. Why our teen suicide rate is so high. We don't spend time with our families, that's why! When we do get home, we watch something like 30 hours of tv a week, plus we have to work out, 'cause God forbid we're not skinny and perfect!

A freind of mine recently said to me "You're just gonna have to realize that professionals work a lot of hours. That's what we do." This is from a guy having serious marital problems!

I tell ya, my employer clears over $1500 a week beyond my salary easy with me billing 38 hours. They're not hurting. They need to get over it.

Amazingly... (2)

riggwelter (84180) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268846)

I work my contracted hours and no more!

I arrive at work 9am, leave at 5.30, which, with an hour for lunch works out at 37 1/2 hours a week - quite standard for the UK.

For some people (like myself) enjoying life is more important than progressing fast in the workplace. Big deal if my colleagues are putting in more hours than me - I have a wife who I'd quite fancy seeing for a couple of hours before the end of the day.

People don't have to work such long hours - they choose to, and if they don't claim for overtime, then that again is their choice.


Speed of technology (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268854)

Throughout history people have had to work at the speed of technology. With every technological advance people have had to work harder, and faster than before.

Now that the technology is nearly as fast as light people are starting to burn out under the strain.

Well... (1)

ElDaveo (90306) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268859)

What with continuing my education, I don't work as many hours as I should, but I'd say that the
number is still higher than 32h/week.

At least I still have time to nab first post...

Mine is less..but... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268870)

Well, I am a programer/sysadmin. Here a full
work week is 35 hours, I work between 35 and 40.
(not paid by the hour so I don't keep too close
of track)

However, we are probably the exceptions. My
father and a friend are both working Field Circus
and regularly work over 50 hours. In fact, 50
is the smallest week they have had in the past
year or two. Sometimes they hit 70 or 80
hours a week.

course...they are paid by the hour.

I work 40.. (2)

Mark F. Komarinski (97174) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268874)

At work. Then there's the other 15 or so hours I work on other general Linux stuff: writing HOWTOs, working on my next book, stuff like that.

My boss once told me "You can be either successful or happy". I choose happy.

I work in Canada, eh? (4)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268884)

I live and work in Canada.

My work day begins at 4 am, when I get up to feed the Huskies. At the same time, I have to chase off any polar bears that have been wandering around my igloo.

By 5:30 am, I have eaten my smoked bacon and am ready to begin my daily 40 mile commute (by dog sled) to work.

After I get there at about 7:30, I need about 2 hours to get any sensation in my fingers so I can type properly. In that time, our boss holds very productive discussions about last night's hockey game. This keeps the employees happy.

At about 9:30, when the feeling returns to my limbs, I work for about 15 minutes and then take a coffee break.

After that, it's time to slaughter a seal and cook it for lunch. We alternate this chore daily between all the employees at the company. (Company pays for the lunch every day - keeps the employees happy, again).

After lunch, we do about 3 hours of work, and then head home because the sun is setting and it's not safe to be out in the dark in the winter.

I make my way home by 5 pm, have a beer, watch the hockey game (I like to be ready for the next day's meeting) and go to bed by 8 pm.

Life is good in Canada.


It varies... (1)

Orville (104680) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268892)

I work in a consulting house cranking out business applications, where my work hours seem to vary quite a bit. As of late, I've been putting in ~ 40 (or a bit less), but last Nov. and Dec. 60 hr/week was average with one week (during a "User Acceptance Test") ran up to 85 hrs.

It seems work hours depend on
1) The volume of work
2) The way in which said work is planned (i.e how big a lie the client was sold on, and how much the 'managing partner' believes his moon-pie promises... another gripe for another time..)

Is the work cycle this way in a lot of "tech" jobs?

Laughable (1)

meisenst (104896) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268894)

I can't remember the last time that I worked a 40-hour work week (37.5 hrs for those that succumb to that urban legend known as "lunch time"). I think it was about 4 years ago, when the company that I worked for at the time didn't approve of co-op students charging for overtime.

These days I probably work about 50-60 hours in a slow week, and I'm about to go back to school, so bump that up to 90-100. That's going to hurt, but it's the way of the world if you want to pay for rent, school and taxes...

The time demands of the high tech industry are going up. As people get used to having everything -now-, they are beginning to demand everything five minutes ago; this is both unreasonable and unfair, but who can't criticize their employers/clients for being unreasonable or unfair at least part of the time?

The only way to get around this is to work for yourself in an environment with few clients and little real-time client presence. Even then, though, expectations are still high, and you have your own finances to do, your own shipping, your own deliver, etc. etc. etc.

"What a wonderful world" indeed.


Re:Time spent reading Slashdot (2)

meisenst (104896) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268895)

Oh, good grief; next, you're going to tell me that the time I spend playing Everquest doesn't count as work time, either.

How ridiculous. ;)


College Students.. (1)

hoss10 (108367) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268901)

What's this about doing 30+ hours in University.
When I was in University I done less than 20 hours - in a whole TERM! Got through it anyway. Lucky Me, touch wood.

Now I'm on a years work experience from my degree (in Programming) and I would be surprised if I done that many hours a week even in the run up to my finals (I'm starting final year in September).

My laziness aside, I love to get home to my Linux box after work. Does spending most of your waking hours in front of a computer even if it's not directly work related count as part of this.

If I'm working on Un*x stuff in my next job then I won't mind working late (for a short while anyway)
----------------------------------------- --------
"If I can shoot rabbits then I can shoot fascists" -

I've not really thought about it.. (1)

God I hate mornings (110205) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268903)

But during the day, I'm at work a half hour early at the least. That let's take care of some of the important stuff, coffee, breakfast, a quick smoke. Then the 6:30 am official time (I have to work around wall street hours which is an hour ahead of me) hits and we start up. Market closes @ 3 pm here, I'm SUPPOSE to be out @ 3:30. I generally leave closer to 5 or so. A quick stop @ a small company I do side work for for about 2-3 hours, and then online working as a sys op for gamestorm for about 3 hours and that puts me right around the 15 hour mark. Now I know why I didn't think about it before. This is depressing.

Notice (1)

jyak (112533) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268906)

The goverment's work average for service is 32.9 hrs. They never said full-time or part-time.

Most likely it is both averaged together, but I am sure that most full-time workers work anywhere between 40-60 hrs average.

What counts? (5)

paulywog (114255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268912)

It seems important to consider what the government counts as "hours spent working." I wonder what measure the government uses in comparison to what most people count.

Let's have a new survey. When you say "I work X hrs each week", what do you count?

[ ] Only the hours you get paid for.
[ ] Only the hours you spend in an office / home office.
[ ] Only the hours you actually do business related tasks.
[ ] All the time you spend thinking about work.
[ ] Include all the you spend enhancing skills that relate to your work.
[ ] Other hours: ____________

In consulting firms, bonuses are often related to the percentage of hours you bill to a client during the year. Wouldn't it be nice if I could count all of the time I spend on my computer at home working on personal projects!? (Gaming makes me a stronger asset to the company!)

The Joys of Maintance (1)

xianzombie (123633) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268926)

I'm one of the lucky ones for a technological field i suppose. I actually only spend 40 hours a week at work, but the amount of time spent actually working, well, to say 20 hours a week would still be streching the truth...

Also the shop i'm in rotates pager schedules, so none of us are on call 24/7. Usually only a week or two a month.

The truly fortunate thing for us, is that we don't really have to work all that often. Unless something is broken, we don't really have anything to fix, unfortunatly that can make for a really boring day as well.

Re:I work... (1)

uh (127786) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268939)

Heh, I hvae 19 credits, and I work at least 40 if not 50 hrs/week. The explicit class time is only 19 hours. From there I get 20-30 hrs of work from the classes I have. So that equals between 39-49 hrs/week.

37 hours and strict about it (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268950)

I start work when I enter the building. Stop when I leave (Which means posting this counts as work).

I think the overtime, weekend work and suchlike is reserved mainly for management rather than Engineers. I will not work when I'm outside the office. Strangely enough, despite this attitude I've still got a job.

Well, at least I get paid for 50 of them.... (1)

codespace (139839) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268958)

I work for an insurance company in metro Phoenix, and i'm "on the clock" for 50 hours a week, but i end up with another nearly 30 hours a week from coordinating meetings, going over everyone else's work, and updating our aging system. And that's not even mentioning the commute.

Not really suprising is it? (2)

steelwraith (141362) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268964)

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. The government will cook the numbers to fit whatever agenda they want to push that day. Congresscritters getting upset because too many foreigners are taking tech jobs in their district? Corporate 'sponsors' of senators want more cheap labor from overseas? The numbers swing depending on who's doing the counting.

There really can't be a yardstick for average hours in the tech industry, as it's all a matter of where you're employed and you're hobbies:

Startups will work hellacious hours to get themselves established in the market. Managers will push developers into overdrive to make the crunch time before a major release. Government contractors may have their hours rigidly controlled by the funding of a contract. Some positions require major amounts of travel around the world. The main output of some organizations are meetings, meetings, and more meetings.

What about all the tech's wearing camoflage? Does physical training and military training time count towards their primary tech specialty? I put in months of consecutive time while deployed to Somalia. Donit get out of the computer shelter.. stay in the computer shelter.

Some people take work home, but some of us take out hobbies to work, or our hobby became our work. Does the time not count if I'm having a blast rooting around in a machines internals? Is it only work if you're not loving it?

Re:yeah, so what? (1)

DAOS (144115) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268970)

The point isn't that you're making less/hour than the McDonalds guy. The point is that someone else is getting rich off the un-compensated extra hours you're putting in. Unless you own/have equity in the enterprise, putting in extra hours is gravy for The Man. I work ungodly hours too, but I have equity. When times are slower I'll take it back. This is the pact. Anyone who does more than a day's work for a day's wage without a net/plan is a chump.

Kudos for Jon + a related story (1)

dmontoya (147121) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268975)

Kudos, Jon for bringing this issue up.

First, the timesheets that I turn in to my employer [they don't determine compensation, but how much time should be credited to various departments] have no relationship to the actual number of hours I work ~60/wk. It's easier to just make everything total out to 40, because I know that I'm not getting any overtime anyway.

I think that these findings highlight the irrelevance of overtime laws and other worker protection legislation. The high-tech industry is particularly abusive regarding compensation issues. How many of you have asked about the time commitment for a prospective employer and been told 60+ hours a week or "work till the job's done?"

The Mercury News had a series of articles about exploitation in the Valley. Unfortunately, those are in the pay archives now, but they detailed the use of home assembly (piece work) among other abuses including lack of overtime pay.

The most insidious trend that Katz identifies is the blurring of the line between work and home. Every time I read a glowing profile of a company that provides in house (dentists, game rooms, nap rooms, whatever) I shudder. If you read the trade press (Business 2.0, Wired, Industry Standard, etc.) the image is of one big happy family. Guess what - there's a reason the saying goes "You can't choose your relatives" - why would I want to buy into the fantasy that by virtue of being employed someplace I have suddenly gained a new home away from home. Ack! You may as well go to work for EDS or M$ if that's what you want. Can you tell I failed my "team building class :)

There's another article on MSNBC [msnbc.com] about how high internet use isolates people. There are a few sections that deal with Katz's post, here's a sample " If personal interaction - not to mention time with such old-fashioned media as newspapers and, particularly, television - were losers, employers benefited. A quarter of the respondents said the time they spent working at home had increased, while their hours at the office had either stayed the same or gone up as well."

How about a poll on this subject? (1)

Strateg (151410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268985)

However imprecise it would be, it still should average to about right. Or a poll with options that suggest methods of changing the situation where knowledge workers are "underpaid" like that.

I wouldn't want to insist on raising the salary for knowledge workers, I'd rather pay more money to people who didn't have an opportunity to get good education. But a recognition of some sort would be quite welcome if only to boost morale.

Re:Ha, more bullshit from the government (1)

tektsu (151613) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268986)

45-50 for me. 80 or more on bad weeks, sometimes as few as 40. More important than the number of hours: I really enjoy the job!

Routinely... (1)

|c0bra| (152925) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268990)

I work around 20-25 hours a week (being a full time student). But then I spend around another 20 hours at home writing code (not exactly working, but dangit it feels like work). And in my department, almost all of the full-time employees work around 10 hours workdays, and its not unusual to have my supervisor work 15.

In my opinion, the reason so many people in the Tech Field are working more is because people outside it want the work done fast fast fast! And you just can't churn out content and code as fast as they want it, not to mention the fact that the insist on meddling with every little thing. Its a pain but it pays the bills.

Re:yeah, so what? (1)

oldcity (152999) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268991)

well, OK. Taco Bell is a whole 'nother story... And yes I conceed that the creation and challenge i was alluding to is not exclusive to those employeed in those proffesions directly. My point is that more ofen than not, we all collectivly make a choice. You want a 9-5 job in this industry? There is a place for that. Go work for that big corporate monolith that will allow you to skirt out the door at 5 on the dot. You want and like to work your ball's off, than go work somewhere in that type od environment. Point here is that we all make choices. You and i *choose* that job. Remember the interview? Remember when your now boss said..."There may be some overtime required" or more likely when in that interview u realized that they had no concept of the task at hand and what u would be doing, well, everything... This is a great employement market. Just like the poster form the UK said, take control of your situation. Be indepent, dependent, whatever... just make the choice, stick with it (for a little while) and stop complaining.... We have all lived through those times when 5 roll's around and half 98% of the building ocupants leave and u get pissed off because u have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Live with it... The good news is. If u don't like it? I'm sure Taco Bell is hiring.

yeah, so what? (2)

oldcity (152999) | more than 14 years ago | (#1268992)

OK, so I work a lot? Most of you prob. do to.... As it turns out, this isn't a 9-5 gig we have here and that is something we all knew going into this. Are sopposed to feel some sort of empathy for each other because our blood-shot eyes are staring at the same screen for 18 hours in a day??? I feel sorry for the people who do in fact work that 9-5 job where the have no connection with what they are doing. They are simply earning $... OK, if you figure it out, you work 18 hours a day, probably 6 day's a week.... Yeah, I see your point. The pimply faced kid @ McDonalds makes more per hour than me! So what? I get to solve problems everyday. I get to be challenged, everyday... seems that is more important.... Sick of this one...
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