1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Work/Life Balance

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by hobbsyoyo, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,541
    Location:
    Chicago
    This is a major problem for me, and it's going to be the biggest factor in deciding whether I want to stay in this industry.

    The work I do is very exciting, interesting and personally fulfilling, but it also doesn't really *stop*. I easily work at least 60 hours a week, and in a few weeks, that will balloon even higher. Even when I'm at home, I'm expected to be near a cell phone and to be available if something happens. News breaks all the time, after all. Not just from 9-6.

    It has hurt me in lots of ways, since I haven't been able to do as many things as I'd like with my church, wife and other friend groups, especially since I moved to this city for the job and didn't have a ton of other friends when I got here. Now that my baby is due, my ability to sustain this kind of work is in peril.

    I'm an ambitious person, but also due to the financial realities of living where I do (and my industry), I don't have the luxury of not trying to push ahead. If I don't, I'll be let go. My boss probably works even longer than I do, and somewhat resents that I can't, because of family obligations. I don't know anybody else who does what I do that has a kid.

    I wish I knew a good solution, because this isn't healthy for anybody. I did my best work this year after my vacation, after I had time to unplug.
     
  2. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    51,335
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    Same with me, and it's something my boss had had to learn. He is used to only managing office types, and with them there's usually a set amount of stuff that needs to get done, and then you can go home.

    With my sort of position, you can spend 20 hours a week, or 40, or 60, or 80. And.. there would be a lot more work left after that.. There's always something that can be improved, a lot of items on my "would be nice to have" list, requests from all over the place for me to create this and that..

    I could be in my office for 12 hour days, and the work would never stop.

    As such I've had to draw a very firm line in the and at .. well, at what's in my contract. I don't want that precedent to be there, because if 5 hours a week over is alright, maybe next week it's going to be 10.. or 15.. or 20.

    Thankfully my boss understands what I do a bit better now.. but it sucks that there are positions out there where you have to basically decide between your career or your family. I hope I never end up in a position like that. I accept that I have it good right now too, but for me it's also important to stay firm and not budge from my position. I know that the union would have my back anyway, that's a good feeling to have.
     
  3. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    16,934
    Location:
    Tir ná Lia
    In this corner of the world, I work about 40-45 hours a week (officially 40 hours) and that's considered almost the height of laziness.
     
  4. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Messages:
    10,369
    Gender:
    Male
    I must say I would be really happy if I landed a 35h job without regular over-time and which paid alright.
    Those are increasingly rare these days from what I hear.
     
  5. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    46,747
    After being in a number of high pressure jobs I arrived at this observation somewhat out of the blue:

    Your ability to retire is not a function of how much you have saved, but of how little you can spend.

    I retired the next day, because I am capable of spending very very little. The main factor in that, admittedly, is that my kids were grown.
     
  6. Kennigit

    Kennigit proud 2 boxer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    6,959
    Location:
    gatech alum
    Big problem for me

    I have a 80 hr/2 week job, so I guess that is good. Currently the job itself sucks (not rewarding, poor communication) but Im getting paid

    But my mentality has always been to "tryhard" at school/low level details to keep me busy (purely relax after exhausting myself mentally) but the real world isnt too low level and im not quite good enough at it to go be some graduate or phd student

    So i have little to focus on and little to enjoy
     
  7. Harv

    Harv Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,691
    I am interested in this subject and will try to respond when I have a better handle on my own work/life balance.
     
  8. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    32,887
    Location:
    DE/NL/FR
    :lol:

    @OP: That'll go over :p.

    Personally: I don't have a life, and don't put too much time into work, that's makes it very easy :p. I just don't feel pressured (although I've also already worked through a whole weekend and the next days 12 hours or so), we have the least restricted flex time ever (okay, restricted by the alarm in the lab, which is on between 23:00 - 6:30), and the boss is not there for most of the time, so it's always possible to slack off if you want :D.
    But then again, my PhD is nearly half over, and I haven't published anything yet (okay, 4 papers are in the pipeline in various states), so it's best not to listen to me ^^.


    Oh, I know that, I know that :yup:.
    I already gave up on getting work done. It doesn't get less, it only gets more (and normally doubles after meetings...just breath...and don't care...there's no advance to be made here).
     
  9. illram

    illram Deity Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,218
    Location:
    San Francisco
    The only classification that matters vis a vis overtime in the US is exempt or non-exempt. Put simply, if you're "exempt" it means you are exempt from overtime and your employer can make you work as much as they want and you get the same salary every two weeks no matter how much or how little you work. There is no requirement that anyone working over 60 hours a week gets overtime, and even if someone is "salaried," (a legally non-determinative term, as far as entitlement to overtime goes) they may be "misclassified" and entitled to overtime. That happens all the time.

    As to your OP, my initial question is: did you say you work two hours from home? That's alot. Working closer to home would probably make work/life balance more bearable, or at least be a "step 1" on that path.

    There is no easy answer to this question. It is especially hard to separate work and non-work time when you have "at home" work obligations. Often working from home is more of a curse than anything else. There is no "clock out." This is true in my profession as well unfortunately, you just have to create boundaries for yourself and trust that your boss respects them. If they do not, then you have a harder question.
     
  10. Harv

    Harv Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,691
    I have the impression that "exempt" status gets abused, and that "salaried" does not necessarily mean "exempt."
     
  11. illram

    illram Deity Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,218
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yep. Absolutely correct.
     
  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    51,335
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    I am most effective at work when I'm in a good mood, not stressed, not distracted by social workplace issues, well rested, it's quiet, things are structured, I'm able to concentrate, and so on. Everything that's conductive to getting into flow, or the zone as some people call it..

    So I think my boss sort of understands that if he were to ask me to put bone crunching 10 hour coding sessions each day, I would be very exhausted, stressed out, and not really capable of performing anywhere near my peak capacity. So a lot of things have to be said "No" to, whether my boss does it or I do. And I can only focus on 1 thing at a time, so.. there are other constraints as well. The key is to keeping everyone's expectations low and then exceeding them. ;)

    To help deal with the craziness I've also automated a lot of things at work, such as the creation of forms, building of surveys, sending out mass emails, etc., so while I maintain a whole crapload of stuff, there is still time in the day to sit back, relax, take a breather, and dive into a new development project with a clear head and a good plan.

    If they kept piling work on me each time I made an efficiency improvement, I would crush under the weight and the whole thing I've built would fall apart. That is just not something they are willing to risk.
     
  13. really

    really Deity

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Messages:
    3,273
    Location:
    Éire
    I hadn't realised your weekend work was voluntary and unrelated to your weekday work.
    If it is short-term and has a clear end date and a clear reward personal life might have to be sacrificed.

    If it has no end date and no reward you will have to reconsider why you are doing it.

    Short-term pain is sometimes worth it.
     
  14. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    26,504
    @illram -

    This is only a temporary situation (8 month co-op, I graduate in Dec 2015). I'd never ever ever do this kind of commute after I graduate, I'd move closer to work.

    It does suck because I work 4 9 hour days but with the commute, I spend 11+ hours on the road or at work and I get home too tired and too short on time to do anything but eat, shower and go to bed during the work week.

    @Warpus -

    God I wish most engineering jobs were unionized, it would really help protect workers. But where I work, the 'shop' (factory) workers are unionized, the engineers are 'company' people. In my field, if any one is unionized, it's typically the laborers and the engineers are all company.
     
  15. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Messages:
    13,108
    Location:
    Arizona, USA (it's a dry heat)
    My work and family life are a lot more balanced than they were 5 years ago. At one point I was working 60 hours and getting yelled at if I took a couple of hours off for a doctor appointment. Now I have the occasional 60 hour week, but may take the equivalent of 2-3 days off another week for appointments. Basically it's unlimited flex. Furthermore, I work at home 3-4 days a week, and the only things that really matter are that design specs are done on time, all the phone calls are covered, and my manager has a rudimentary idea of what I'm working on.
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    51,335
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    Technically I'm not really a part of a union. I pay no dues. My position, benefits, etc. are defended by an organization that's similar to a union. I'm not exactly sure what the difference is, but the paying of dues is optional for this one. They keep asking me to join. The only benefit seems to be that I get to vote in their elections.

    Most people who work here are a part of a union though. The organization that I'm a part of works with those unions so that everyone working here gets similar (or the same) benefits.

    Every single industry should be unionized.. .. Having said that though, some unions have way too much power. For example, all the food courts at the university where I work are unionized.. so the employees there have to be university employees, not mr. sub employees or whatever. As such the food prices on campus are higher than everywhere else, so students end up being gouged when they go to eat. I think it's horrible, and I don't want to support it, but I'm not sure what I could do.. I don't mind the employees making a decent living wage, but 20% of the time they just transferred over from the sub place to the wrap place, and they don't know what they're really doing. That, and I don't think the extra costs should be passed on to the poor students, they're already paying out of their butt for tuition and books..

    Are Engineering jobs not unionized just in the U.S. or does that happen in most places? I have two friends who work similar jobs, I'm pretty sure they're in unions.. but I could be wrong. All I know is that their jobs pay well and have good benefits.
     
  17. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2002
    Messages:
    16,622
    Location:
    Canada
    Engineering jobs typically aren't unionized in Canada, they've got special engineering "unions" but as basically management, their professional code creates some conflicts to joining general unions.
     
  18. Harv

    Harv Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,691
    Two questions:

    How do you get ahead in an engineering job?

    How do you get ahead in a union job?
     
  19. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2002
    Messages:
    16,622
    Location:
    Canada
    In either case - get a new better job at a different place, quit old job is probably the best way.
     
  20. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    46,747
    You don't.
     

Share This Page