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Overtime is unhealthy
Old 05-11-2010, 05:07 PM   #1
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Overtime is unhealthy

Well, here's a new study that shows something I think we all instinctively knew: Oxford Journals | News | Overtime is bad for the heart

It's NOT OK to work 10 hour days. Working one or two extra hours seems to be OK.

For me, this reinforces the importance of reducing my hours (even if it's not ESR) and of course, of FIRE.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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It's not just overtime!

A few years ago, when I was debating myself on whether ER was really a good thing to do ("What ya do all day?" ), I was searching the Web on this subject. Did not find this forum then, but ran across a blog from a guy who semi-retired at the age of thirty-something.

This guy argued that humans weren't meant to work 40hrs/week, 8hrs/day. If I remember right, he said we should work only 2 to 4 hrs/day on the average, and at that rate, he would enjoy his work and carry on for a long time. Didn't take much to convince me!
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:03 PM   #3
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My SIL and her husband work for the semi-conductor industry. It's really boom and bust! I could never believe the kind of overtime they were obligated to put in during the boom period. Things like 6 days a week - many of them 12 hour days.

I mean - there is no time for life!

And then there would be the inevitable layoffs. It's just insane.

I don't know how they do it!

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Old 05-11-2010, 10:36 PM   #4
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normal, seven-hour day
What? This is so foreign to me. Is that Oxford, England?

Now that I'm retired I think it is very healthy for young people. I remember several jobs where people bonded during overtime hours thus giving them that all-important reason never to retire from the only social life they have time for.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:51 PM   #5
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What? This is so foreign to me. Is that Oxford, England?

Now that I'm retired I think it is very healthy for young people. I remember several jobs where people bonded during overtime hours thus giving them that all-important reason never to retire from the only social life they have time for.
It's probably all of England these days. When I left England I left a Megacorp where I had worked for 2 years. A 37.5 hr week was normal in England, plus I started on day 1 with 25 days vacation, plus 11 statutory days, and also every year you had the option of a 1% bonus or an extra 2.5 days (I chose extrad days for each of the years I was there). It doesn't surprise me that government employees have a standard 35 hr week.

The UK has always won an exception to the EU rules on the maximum working week of 48 hours in 7 days, although I believe last year they finally lost that exception.

Quote:
The Working Time Directive of the European Union (Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time, Official Journal L 307, 13/12/1993 pages 0018–0024; amended by Directive 2000/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2000) is a collection of regulations concerning hours of work, designed to protect the health and safety of workers. Key features are the limiting of the maximum length of a working week to 48 hours in 7 days, a minimum rest period of 11 hours in each 24 hours and a minimum number of paid leave days per annum.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:39 PM   #6
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I could never believe the kind of overtime they were obligated to put in during the boom period. Things like 6 days a week - many of them 12 hour days.
That's a quiet week in my world, when I am not on call. When I am on call I work 90-100 hours a week and the rest of the time I am available 24/7.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:47 PM   #7
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That's a quiet week in my world, when I am not on call. When I am on call I work 90-100 hours a week and the rest of the time I am available 24/7.
That is brutal. I've only had to work those schedules for a few weeks or months at a time after which the project is over and I go back to more reasonable hours.

I've always thought that excessive overtime is unhealthy and on 3 occaisions during these big projects I ended up in with serious illnesses (hospitalized twice - viral meningitis and gastro enteritis). I'm convinced in my own mind that excessive overtime increases stress and lowers the body's defences in fighting off illnesses.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:47 AM   #8
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It's NOT OK to work 10 hour days.
What about 12 hour nights? I haven't worked less than 12 hours at a time in over a decade. That's not 12 hours sitting down in front of a computer either. That's 12 hours manual labor standing/walking on cement. I think I need to find a new job even if it only pays $25K/yr.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:41 AM   #9
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If overtime is unhealthy then I should be dead. I worked a whole lot more than an 8 hour day for 16 years about 6-7 days a week. But, according to my recent physical, I came out smelling like a rose...maybe it's all the joking around with clients that kept my mental health = physical health up? (That's one of the benefits of selling: you can joke around sometimes.)
If I had hated what I was doing, tho, I'll bet I'd be in a lot worse physical shape or, maybe, dead after all; but I really enjoyed my business, my work and alot of the aspects of it. It was definitely challenging but it was fun for the most part. Maybe it's just me?
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:21 AM   #10
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Once on a new model launch, I worked 30 consecutive 18 hour days, living out of a motel. By the time I finally convinced someone "back home" to rescue me, I literally felt like I was about to lose my mind. My health gave out after about two weeks and I was living on cold medication and cough drops.

Sure do miss that and them!
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:14 AM   #11
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Many engineering jobs have productivity that is difficult to quantify, particularly in R&D. I was once on a project that people were pushed by management to put in OT ( paid straight time, not 1.5x). A fellow engineer said at a meeting that he only got 8 hrs of work in him a day, and if management wanted to pay him for 10 or 12, surely he wouldn't mind. This was a highly respected and key engineer in that project.

Needless to say, management backed off the pressure.
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:56 PM   #12
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What about 12 hour nights? I haven't worked less than 12 hours at a time in over a decade. That's not 12 hours sitting down in front of a computer either. That's 12 hours manual labor standing/walking on cement. I think I need to find a new job even if it only pays $25K/yr.
Aaron, best wishes on finding a way. Early retirement isn't everything.
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:30 PM   #13
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I work in IT and I basically won't work more than 8 hours a day - I just leave. Once in a while, of course, it is impossible to just leave. But generally I put in my theoretical 40 hours/week and head out the door each day. And it's STILL stressful! I do try to work at a steady pace while I'm working. And I get things done fast, so I feel like I'm productive.

I've had jobs where 37.5 hours was normal and it was less stressful. 7 hours a day sounds lovely.

ER sounds better.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:41 PM   #14
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The study does not surprise me in the least. In situations where I am working long hours under stress for a prolonged period, I can literally feel the damage being done. I also get sick and have it hang on for weeks because I just cannot seem to beat whatever ague I pick up.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:14 PM   #15
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No question that it depresses your immune system!

Audrey
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:20 AM   #16
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If this article is right nurses should be dropping like flies from heart attacks and they are not . We routinely work ten to twelve hour days and if we take call we are available twenty four hours . I spent many days working ten hours and then spending another seven or so hours in the middle of the night assisting with emergency surgery . I think what saves nurses from heart attacks is the constant exercise we get while working . It's not uncommon to walk ten to twelve miles a day plus lots of bending and lifting .
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:06 AM   #17
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I had a couple of coworkers whose wives were nurses, and they dropped out early in their late 30s or early 40s. I don't know the statistics on nurses leaving their profession early, but wouldn't be surprised if it is high.
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:13 AM   #18
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If this article is right nurses should be dropping like flies from heart attacks and they are not . We routinely work ten to twelve hour days and if we take call we are available twenty four hours . I spent many days working ten hours and then spending another seven or so hours in the middle of the night assisting with emergency surgery . I think what saves nurses from heart attacks is the constant exercise we get while working . It's not uncommon to walk ten to twelve miles a day plus lots of bending and lifting .
Nurses are made of sterner stuff than the rest of us. It's not just the long hours, they also have to put up with a lot more stress than I could imagine coping with.

God Bless Them All
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:39 AM   #19
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Yeah, why do they have to work so hard!

And there is a chronic shortage. Seems like a catch-22.

And they are still not paid enough?

Something is wrong with this picture!

I don't have how "used to" lack of sleep someone is. It's well known that chronic sleep deprivation impairs judgement, motor skills, reaction time, etc. Makes me nervous about surgery, etc. if the team is not well rested.

Audrey
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:20 AM   #20
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I don't have how "used to" lack of sleep someone is. It's well known that chronic sleep deprivation impairs judgement, motor skills, reaction time, etc. Makes me nervous about surgery, etc. if the team is not well rested.

Audrey

I would not worry about that . The stress of emergency surgery gets your adrenalin flowing and you become amazingly alert . I would function perfectly while the surgery was happening and even after for our post surgery duties and then I'd crash . Plus it was not uncommon to call in another team if somebody got too tired or if we had too many cases backed up as in a multi car collision .
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