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Taking Work Home. Do you do it???
Old 05-16-2008, 09:14 AM   #1
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Taking Work Home. Do you do it???

I was just wonder if I am the stupid one or the "dedicate" one at the office. It seems to me that only a very few people in the office bring work home so we can "catch up" or "getting ahead" ...lol. When I drive to and from work, when I am in the bathroom, when I am in bed, whenever or whereever I am at, I tend to think about work. Is it a worthless or worthwhile effort? Keep in mind that noone pay me an extra nickel for it. I am on salary.

1) is it a typical "white collar" technical field job behavior?
2) when is it gonna end? there are plenty of job don't require such effort.
3) do you do it and why?


enuff
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Enuff2Eat View Post
I was just wonder if I am the stupid one or the "dedicate" one at the office. It seems to me that only a very few people in the office bring work home so we can "catch up" or "getting ahead" ...lol. When I drive to and from work, when I am in the bathroom, when I am in bed, whenever or whereever I am at, I tend to think about work. Is it a worthless or worthwhile effort? Keep in mind that noone pay me an extra nickel for it. I am on salary.

1) is it a typical "white collar" technical field job behavior?
2) when is it gonna end? there are plenty of job don't require such effort.
3) do you do it and why?
I did what it took so that my job performance was considered good or better and I achieved the results I wanted. When work loads were high during busy times or when I was learning new things, I'd frequently bring work home. But there were some slower periods where nothing was required beyond 40 hours and perhaps even some time for a few long lunches or leaving a little early.

It's a matter of quality and quantity of work accomplished more than the number of hours put in plus finding ways to keep yourself up with all the new stuff to learn.

If you're unhappy with the effort you need to expend now and you're aware of a position where you could excel with little effort, hey, go for it.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:28 AM   #3
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I used to do it a lot -- when I was very engaged in my work (software development for brain imaging). But in the last couple years, I've lost a lot of interest in brains and image processing. So now I don't do much work at home.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:35 AM   #4
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In my working "daze", my job was on my mind 24 hours a day. I couldn't even escape it by sleeping...it invaded my dreams.

I didn't bring files home, but I would go in on the w.e.'s from time to time to catch up. Usually this happened because the people that reported to me had been out sick or on vacation. I was responsible for my department, therefore I had no choice.

I'm glad those daze are behind me.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:42 AM   #5
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At my old job, I took home/worked late on 3 occasions in 3 years. Now I make overtime (in addition to my salary), so I stay when needed or leave at 5.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:06 AM   #6
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Old job: at work or working from home 70+ hours a week.

New job: 40 is a stretch, unless we have deadlines, then maybe 40-45.

Guess which job had me going to the hospital to see if I was just stressed or on the verge of a stroke.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
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In my first year on the job I regularly took work home and worked weekends. My whole life was about the job.

Earlier this year I went to 4 days a week, I couldn't take any more. Since then I have made a point of leaving the office on time, not taking work home nor do I work on weekends. However, just this past thing, the need to do more hours has raised it's ugly head.

I'm thinking it is time for me to resign, however I do feel guilty as it is a bad time for the company as they are having to downsize and many people are losing their job without any warning. I almost feel a responsbility to stay on for a while.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Enuff2Eat View Post

1) is it a typical "white collar" technical field job behavior?
2) when is it gonna end? there are plenty of job don't require such effort.
3) do you do it and why?

enuff
enuff, these q's remind me of the posts where people ask - How much do you spend in retirement? It doesn't make much difference what other people say, it is what you need/want.

So the real q's, IMO, are:

A) How much do I dislike the extra work?

B) What are the benefits of the extra work? (Are you learning valuable skills that will make you more marketable on the outside, will it put you in line for a wanted raise/promotion, will it help downsize-proof you, etc?).

C) If there are 'plenty of jobs' that don't require it - you have to ask yourself why you are doing it (if there is no benefit to you)? Are there other downsides to those other jobs? And if there *is* a benefit, then maybe it all makes sense to continue?

I've had people tell me ' Heck, my job is sooooo easy, I never need to work OT, we can goof off half the day, etc, etc....' Guess what - a year later management catches on and those jobs are history, and the worker does not have any great accomplishments to put on a resume. That can be a bad place to be in.

You gotta look at the big picture. If it is really stressing you out, you may need to make adjustments, but that may mean an adjustment to your expectations as well. Or, if you get lucky, maybe not - but I think those lucky jobs are getting rarer.

-ERD50
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:36 AM   #9
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I used to stay late at the office a lot - not because I felt pressured to, but because I was working on really interesting projects and I wanted to stay. At home, I'd always be working out work problems in my head and couldn't wait to get back into the office the next day. I did that for a long time until it dawned on me that no one really cared. I probably sound a bit disgruntled but the fun went out of it when my management didn't recognize the effort I was putting into things, and all you had to do to get ahead in the company was to take the afternoon off to play golf with the bosses. I'm not kidding, it really did work that way.

I chose not to play golf with the bosses, and to only put in my 8 hours a day. My annual raises did not suffer because of that, and I enjoy my free time more now doing other things.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:06 AM   #10
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I have never taken work home because I believe that work life and home life should be completely separated. While at work I am very organized and efficient to make sure that all my work is done by the time I go home. I don't work on weekends period. I have zero tolerance for other people's disorganization, inefficiency, incompetence or BS especially when they impact my work schedule. If, when 5:00 pm comes around, my work is done (which it usually is), I go home. Like it or not. I have never had an employer complain because I always do the job that's required of me. Some of my colleagues used to "work" on the week end. So one day I dropped by the office to check out what they were really doing: they were throwing footballs around the office, surfing the internet and all, but they had punched their time cards and on Monday the boss was happy to see that they had worked several hours during the week end and was impressed with their "dedication". I was just plain ridiculous. I don't play stupid games like that.

My wife, on the other hand, always brings work home (maybe that's why she is far more successful than I am?). It KILLS me. She spends 60-70 hours a week at work, then she comes home with her laptop and her freaking crackberry and works on nights and week ends too. The job is always on her mind. Her boss regularly schedules teleconferences at 9:00 pm and sometimes at 5:00 am. On week ends suddenly he forwards an email which has been sitting on his computer for 2 weeks so my wife has now to scramble to put together a last minute presentation for him. At 3:00 am the crackberry starts vibrating and flashing red because some insomniac, brown nosing a**hole is firing up emails to everyone in the company to prove to the boss that he is a hard worker, always on the job. And vacations? Well, let's just say that my wife spends her time putting out fires ignited by overly ambitious people trying to get her job while she is away. It is crazy.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:21 AM   #11
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My wife, on the other hand, always brings work home .....

And vacations? Well, let's just say that my wife spends her time putting out fires ignited by overly ambitious people trying to get her job while she is away. It is crazy.
Crazy? It appears to me the 'crazy' thing is to SAY this is crazy, but make no mention of looking for another job.

So often time it seems, we live our life in chains, and we never realize we hold the key..... (The Eagles, too lazy to google exact lyrics, that's close).

-ERD50
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:39 AM   #12
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Crazy? It appears to me the 'crazy' thing is to SAY this is crazy, but make no mention of looking for another job.

So often time it seems, we live our life in chains, and we never realize we hold the key..... (The Eagles, too lazy to google exact lyrics, that's close).

-ERD50
You'll notice that the problem is not with her company, it's with the PEOPLE working there. Incompetent, inefficient, cunning, overly ambitious and aggressive people are everywhere. They are clearly part of today's corporate culture. It would be naive to think that running away from her current job will leave such people behind. This is the third company she works for, 2 start ups and one large company. The decor changes, the location changes, the management style changes but the people don't. We have now come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is getting paid as much money as possible to deal with the human rot so that we can FIRE asap and leave the workplace for good.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:46 AM   #13
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Oh and by the way, my wife loves her job and wouldn't trade what she does for anything else in the world. It's the people she can't stand... If it wasn't for the people she would probably never retire...
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:51 AM   #14
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You'll notice that the problem is not with her company, it's with the PEOPLE working there... The decor changes, the location changes, the management style changes but the people don't. We have now come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is getting paid as much money as possible to deal with the human rot so that we can FIRE asap and leave the workplace for good.
I'm probably a poor reference, but the above has been my experience, too. The way I figure it, my fam attempts to live cheap enough that we're not beholden to that type of crap. There are jobs out there. I'll find something. Not owing anyone anything makes us eternally flexible (which is damn hard to quantify when debating whether or not it's smart to pay off your house early - which we did).

Being a wage slave sucks. But not being tied to a particular job or particular pay scale makes it a little more bearable.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:00 PM   #15
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We have now come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is getting paid as much money as possible to deal with the human rot so that we can FIRE asap and leave the workplace for good.
OK, so it's not crazy, it's a balance decision that you have made. You have traded the crap for the pay.

There ARE options, (lower pay job for less stress/responsibility). But that would probably mean working longer.

BTW, when you (or DW) gets to the point that they feel they just can't handle it and want out - consider asking for a low stress position in the company (you did say she like the work itself). I know it sounds crazy right now, but if they value her for putting up with the crap for so long, they just might value her in another position with a different stress level - yes, maybe for less pay too. But, it might be the right tradeoff at the time.

Just something to consider when/if the time comes.

-ERD50
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:11 PM   #16
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OK, so it's not crazy, it's a balance decision that you have made. You have traded the crap for the pay.

There ARE options, (lower pay job for less stress/responsibility). But that would probably mean working longer.

BTW, when you (or DW) gets to the point that they feel they just can't handle it and want out - consider asking for a low stress position in the company (you did say she like the work itself). I know it sounds crazy right now, but if they value her for putting up with the crap for so long, they just might value her in another position with a different stress level - yes, maybe for less pay too. But, it might be the right tradeoff at the time.

Just something to consider when/if the time comes.

-ERD50

Well we are only 34 and make $160K a year while living in one of the lowest COL areas in the country. Plus my wife has just been awarded a HUGE stock option grant (vesting over the next 3 years) which could push us over the FIRE line much sooner than anticipated so she has little incentive to consider another job right now. But in any case, in 4-5 years we should have enough in savings (even without the stock options) for my wife to consider a less stressful/lower paying job if she wanted to (she would only need to make about $20K a year for us to make ends meet). So we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and it makes things a bit more bearable.
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:52 PM   #17
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FD, what is the value of DW's health? Is this crazy job worth it if she has a premature heart attack, stroke or psychiatric crisis?

IMHO there is no justification for 24/7 availability at the end of a crackberry. That's called SLAVERY.
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:38 PM   #18
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IMHO there is no justification for 24/7 availability at the end of a crackberry. That's called SLAVERY.
I agree, but she sees it as part of today's corporate world. At her level it's the kind of things that are expected of people. People who like me refuse to play the corporate game usually dead end in low level careers.

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FD, what is the value of DW's health? Is this crazy job worth it if she has a premature heart attack, stroke or psychiatric crisis?
Are you implying that I put a gun to her head every morning and force her to go to work? Do you think I don't worry about the impact of stress on her health? She is a grown woman, I can't tell her to quit her job! She is smart enough to know whether she can take the stress or not. The day she says she can't anymore, we'll look at other options (heck if she wanted she could get right now a low stress job paying less than half what she is making now and we would still be OK financially!). In the meantime, she obviously loves her line of work and thinks that the financial rewards are sufficient to offset the unpleasantness. She is VERY healthy (actually healthier than me!) and the way she sees it, it's better to deal with that kind of stress now (making a lot of money and saving a lot of it all the while) and then leave the rat race while she is still young rather than being in her forties or fifties or sixties and still have to deal what that kind of stress everyday (obviously the older you are the more at risk for heart disease you are).

I think we need to realize that most people live with high levels of stress, some due to work , some due to money problems, some due to health or family problems. We have been blessed in that we don't have many stress inducers in our lives besides work so I don't think we are necessarily damaging our health anymore than most people out there. Stress is a natural part of life. Before she stressed so much about work, she used to stress all the time about money! I don't think she can get rid of stress completely!
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:44 PM   #19
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When I was learning my j*b, it took all my time at work to get oriented, etc. Sometimes, on my off time I would worry about mistakes I made or how to deal with a problem, so on the way to work would figure out how to correct them. Now 16 years later, on the way to work I think about what personal things I will accomplish while at w*rk. My predecessor worked a lot of over-time, but my employer knew it could be done in 8 hours and speaks of how that person acted like everything was overly important. I've only stayed overtime maybe five times in 16 years--and don't give the j*b a thought when I'm away from it.
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:02 PM   #20
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I have over the years... But no more. It is rare. I no longer work long hours either (if I can help it).

I am cutting back.
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