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Old 08-19-2008, 07:52 AM   #41
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I worked 60-80 hour weeks for most of the past 23 years. For several years I was travelling almost constantly with a breakfast meeting at 7am with my CFO, all day meetings with my country managers, and then travel to the next country in the evening and then catch up on email before falling into bed sometime past midnight. There were times that I would wake up in the middle of the night and seriously not know where I was. Thankfully that ended about a year ago, but over the past 12 months I have had one physical ailment (now chronic) that the doc tells me is caused by stress and over-work, and two others that are not caused by stress, but exacerbated by it. Since a hospital stay put me on my back for a week earlier this year I have been trying to cut back. As the head of a $2B sub of a megacorp, I was always stressing over things, spending lots of time at the office trying to improve things, etc, etc. Luckily, over the past 12-18 months I have been able to hire a few great people to whom I can really delegate and not worry about the outcomes. Now, I try to spend no more than 50 hours in the office and usually less than 45, but I still check email several times in the evening and first thing in the morning when I arise. In general, I do feel a lot better now, physically and about life as well. I do not recommend the pace at which I was working, the stress it caused, the lack of exercise brought on by it, or the resulting physical ailments. I do feel I am fortunate to have the job and role that I have, and that I was able to get the right people in the right places in time so I could slow down enough to survive the next couple of years until FIRE.

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Old 08-19-2008, 08:20 AM   #42
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I do not recommend the pace at which I was working, the stress it caused, the lack of exercise brought on by it, or the resulting physical ailments.
Not to derail the thread, but that's one of the main problems with a long work week. Between work, family, commuting, eating, sleeping, bathing and some seblance of a social life, something absolutely must give. In many cases, that something is often physical exercise. Unfortunately, when you stop exercising, it creates a domino effect that spills over into virtually ever aspect of your life. This is a sad truth that many people, such as Rambler (not picking on you) don't discover until a major health scare arises.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:24 AM   #43
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Not to derail the thread, but that's one of the main problems with a long work week. Between work, family, commuting, eating, sleeping, bathing and some seblance of a social life, something absolutely must give. In many cases, that something is often physical exercise. Unfortunately, when you stop exercising, it creates a domino effect that spills over into virtually ever aspect of your life. This is a sad truth that many people, such as Rambler (not picking on you) don't discover until a major health scare arises.
Jay - you hit the nail on the head. I knew what I was doing, but kept telling myself just a little more, just a little more....

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Old 08-19-2008, 08:28 AM   #44
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Thank you, Sir! May I have another?
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:36 AM   #45
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Except for a brief stint as a small business owner, most of my working life has been spent in union positions. Over 40 hrs/week = double time pay. That keeps the extra hours to a minimum It takes a full blown crisis to get the company to shell that money out.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:07 PM   #46
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Jay - you hit the nail on the head. I knew what I was doing, but kept telling myself just a little more, just a little more....

R
That's too often the case in the legal profession. The running joke is that your behind grows larger to accommodate your chair. Personally, I'd rather trade money for time, which is one of the reasons why I work in-house at a company rather than go back to private practice. Being able to hit the gym, Aikido practice and spend time with my family all outweigh any extra pay. Every hour at work over 45 hours per week should be considered time-and-a-half or double-time, since that starts cutting into my personal life.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:58 PM   #47
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While many people genuinely enjoy their jobs and the companies they work for, I suspect there are a lot of people out there who consider any company that measures their employees contributions to the success of the organization to be a "kool-aid cult". In my experience, many times these are the same folks are the ones standing around the water cooler advocating a shorter workweek; complaining about their co-workers promotions, watching the clock with with their cars idling in the parking lot at 4:45pm; leaving early on Friday to cash their paychecks, and always unhappy with their compensation and career path.
I am glad that you were able to find a job that gave you extra income for the extra input you did... sales is usually one of them..... Most other jobs if you work longer and harder... your per hour just goes down... or they just get rid of you...

And I DO think that some drink from the 'kool aid' that work long hours... there was one manager I had who used to go around and see who was at their desks between 7 and 8.... and there were a number of people who just sat there reading the wall street or doing some other 'stuff' just to get counted as 'staying late'.... they were NOT productive at all.. but got the promotions and raises... we can go tit for tat on what I think of the ones who want to work long hours... one even doing it while his wife was dying from cancer... you may think that my thinking of a 'normal' work week is waiting to get out 'early', I see it as not being a slave to the man...

BTW, when I worked in London.. the whole HR dept used to leave at 5... but they were some of the hardest working people I saw... during the day...
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:37 PM   #48
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What Texas Proud said. When I was a team lead, and putting in a bunch of hours which means I knew who else was or wasn't putting in hours, and how productive everyone was, there wasn't a real strong correlation between hours and productivity. I'd say the most productive were putting in a lot of hours, but there were others close in productivity who did 40 or 40ish. Plenty of people who weren't all that productive put in lots of hours for show, or simply because they didn't know how to work efficiently. Someone who finds a quick way to get something done and leave is more valuable than someone who bangs their head against the wall for hours.
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Old 08-20-2008, 12:55 PM   #49
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My Dad worked a lot of hours when I was younger. I'm 25 now. He still likes to work 7 days a week, but then again he likes to drive his nice new V8 shelby at night, eat out all the time, and enjoy concerts and shows. It was tougher when I got older because the only time I could spend time with my dad was working. I'd have to go on a job with him to spend time with him.

My dad always teases me that I have the good life because I don't work more than 40 hours a week and don't work on weekends. Both my sister and her husband work 40+ hours a week.

The difference? I have a nice car (bought used 3 years ago) I take good care of but it's 7 years old with over 100k miles on it. It's not my sister's $50K Mercedes she just had to have or the $50K Shelby, but it gets me to work and back. I go out but I like to spend my enjoyment on things that don't cost a lot of money.

I would rather cut back spending than work over 40 hours a week. It's worth the aggrivation to me. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 16 and I know all too well what's it's like to think that you may be living the last days of your life. So I like enjoying life as much as possible. Guess that's why I'm on the early retirement forums.
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Old 08-20-2008, 01:10 PM   #50
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Boy, you guys scare me with those tales of long hours. This is one of the main reasons I love being an hourly consultant. I can't picture myself working 50+ hour weeks -- but then I'm a clock-watcher who can barely make it 7AM - 3PM...

Once, early in my career, I made the mistake of telling my bosses that I couldn't get something done sooner because I wasn't going to work overtime. At least I managed not to get fired... Eventually I learned the wisdom of not causing a ruckus.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:41 PM   #51
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I work in IT, and have noticed in the last few years that most of the company staff (and the company's vendors/suppliers staff) seem to be working 40hr weeks - very little overtime. This is very different than what I experienced in the 90's and early 2000's, where it seemed most worked 50+hr week. No idea why this is the case, other than possibly the Gen Y slacker influence?
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:54 PM   #52
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I once worked at a place that had an overtime culture, we got there early, stayed late, and it was just a given that everyone stayed over.... what a cool-aid cult it was.
Yes, indeed; well said.

There's no credible reason for any civilized person to work > 40 hours a week.

Worth considering: "If you go up to someone in Europe and say 'I work 10 hours a day, six days a week, 51 weeks a year. Look how much I achieve!' you'll get the same reaction you would in America if you said 'I wash my hands exactly 169 times a day. Look how clean they are! Look! Look!!!'". See further: http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/germ...ropean_wo.html
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:40 PM   #53
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I got a new job and I don't work as long as some people b/c:

A) I think I work more efficiently - like the old saying work smarter not harder
B) Moved from Mgt to an Analyst role and I get a lot more done now that I don't have to sit on those effing conference calls
C) I don't sit around the water cooler and chat all day about the work I need to do or will do
D) I can only play with gigantic spreadsheets for so many hours before I start to confuse myself and do major damage

I may have slowed my $ progression down a little by jumping out of mgt but I feel more valuable in my current role skill wise. The way I look at it, I earn more $ per hour in my current job than some of the managers do.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:59 PM   #54
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Yes, indeed; well said.

There's no credible reason for any civilized person to work > 40 hours a week.

Worth considering: "If you go up to someone in Europe and say 'I work 10 hours a day, six days a week, 51 weeks a year. Look how much I achieve!' you'll get the same reaction you would in America if you said 'I wash my hands exactly 169 times a day. Look how clean they are! Look! Look!!!'". See further: http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/germ...ropean_wo.html


I wouldn't look to the EU as an economic or social model we would want to emulate in the US (Maybe in Canada, though... )
Lower productivity, higher unemployment, higher taxes, rising social unrest, a different strike every week by farmers, airlines, transit workers... you name it. Hell, in Italy the garbage is piling up in the streets because of the disdain for an honest weeks work that you so admire...
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:21 AM   #55
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It sounds like setting boundaries/expectations is the name of the game. As you get older and more experienced, it takes far less time to do things. "Face time" is also unnecessary, unless it is true face-to-face meeting time with managers or internal clients/customers. If your manager doesn't understand the concept of working smarter, not harder (or longer), then you need a new manager or a new job.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:53 AM   #56
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I wouldn't look to the EU as an economic or social model we would want to emulate in the US
Your choice. I suspect that you have never lived in Europe.

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Hell, in Italy the garbage is piling up in the streets because of the disdain for an honest weeks work that you so admire...
Just like New Orleans.
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Old 08-24-2008, 01:09 PM   #57
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Your choice. I suspect that you have never lived in Europe.

Just like New Orleans.
You are wrong on both counts. (as usual)
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Old 08-24-2008, 01:13 PM   #58
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70+ hour work weeks. Sales. Wants everyone to buy American.

Hey buddy, I'm interested in making your job easier... why don't you learn to work smarter, not harder!

We had one contractor give us an estimate of 60 hours to make a change. I did it in 2. Imagine where we'd be if I tried to work both harder and smarter!
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Old 08-24-2008, 02:57 PM   #59
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70+ hour work weeks. Sales. Wants everyone to buy American.
Guilty as charged on all three counts. Trying to do something about the first count, no regrets about the second, unashamedly unapologetic about the third...
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:54 PM   #60
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Most people don't work 40+ weeks – they just claim they do. They forget about the days they left early for the doctor appointment, to meet with a teacher... They also take the those rare days that they worked 10+ hours and extrapolate them into 60+ hour weeks.


I had a few mangers that believed they were working excessive hours. I logged their hrs for a month and showed them the results. Not one manager out of the 4 worked more than 40 hrs.


Business is down 90% where I work and we have let go 50% of the staff. If you ask almost any employee to do something out of the norm, the common response is I'm too busy. This can't be the case, but if they claim it, it becomes their reality.
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