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When Is Work, Work?


When Is Work, Work?

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majorbloodnock
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The bit that jumped out at me in this article was regarding the policy. I agree wholeheartedly.

If you're employed, your contractual hours are stated, along with expected variations, so employee and company know where they stand. If you get a computer as one of your tools, there should be a policy stating what is deemed reasonable use (Can you do any personal surfing? Can you use the PC to write letters or emails to your bank?), so both employee and company know where they stand. If you get a company car, there should be a policy stating how it can be used, so both employee and company know where they stand.

Why should this not be the case for a company mobile or PIM/RIM? At the point the policy is in place, both parties know the position and can agree to it, reject it or negotiate.

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Most of the companies I've worked for have been fairly relaxed about timekeeping. As long as I was seen to put in reasonable hours and got the job done, management didn't worry. The surprising thing is that when they did start to comment that it had been noticed (usually by staff/managers in other departments) I'd come in late a few times or taken a couple of long lunch breaks, I have always been able to show that I actually work longer hours than I'm supposed to, e.g. they'd comment that I arrived late Thurday morning and I'd point out that I worked an extra couple of (unpaid) hours on Monday!

Most managers are happy with this, although some still complain that they'd like to know when I'm going to be late - but since it's usually due to trains/traffic/etc, this isn't often possible.

The few places I've worked where they did try to insist on strict timekeeping had much lower morale and high staff turnover (as has been noted elsewhere). Somehow, most managers just don't seem to see the connection!

Derek
Steve Jones
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Strict timekeeping doesn't make sense unless you're being paid hourly. People will do the work or they won't, and that's what you track.

I usually let people know in an interview that I'm not great at arriving on time. Just a flaw I have and if you can't deal with it, don't hire me.

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David.Poole
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Most UK companies have between 20 and 25 days annual leave plus public holidays.

Most of the ones I have worked for have asked that 3 days of that leave be kept to cover December 27th through to December 31st.

Contracted working hours seems to vary between 35 and 40 although I have seen one where the contracted hours were 45. In each case this was seen as the minimum and that minimum was rarely that.

The worst case I heard was where someone asked a colleague when he grew his beard. His answer was "I wasn't growing one but I haven't had time to shave". He had literally spent 6 weeks working, going home to grab something to eat and sleep for 5 hours before being back in the office.

Apparently staff turnover was astronomic and included suicides and divorces.

I have to ask those of you who have worked mega-hours. Looking back, how much did it benefit your career? When I've worked the silly hours it felt like I was a key employee however I never had anything tangible to suppport the feeling.

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Jack Corbett
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David.Poole (9/10/2008)

I have to ask those of you who have worked mega-hours. Looking back, how much did it benefit your career? When I've worked the silly hours it felt like I was a key employee however I never had anything tangible to suppport the feeling.


I've only done it once where it was not totally an emergency and that was when we re-opened the factory I worked at under new ownership with all new systems. It was necessary to work a couple of 18 hour days then. It certainly didn't change how the bosses thought of IT though.

I always tell employers that I do what' necessary to get the job done. If I promise something by Monday morning I work the hours needed to deliver.



Jack Corbett

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David Reed-223505
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David.Poole (9/10/2008)
I have to ask those of you who have worked mega-hours. Looking back, how much did it benefit your career? When I've worked the silly hours it felt like I was a key employee however I never had anything tangible to suppport the feeling.


Good managers take advantage of that unquantifiable feeling. Great manages inspire it...

w00t

And geek personalities tend to thrive on it.

I never felt bad about inspiring "silly" hours out of my developers and testers, because I was there with them for every hour of it -- and because we compensated them well for it: buying back missed vacation time, bonuses for delivery and lots of slack time after we delivered. Our salaries went the opposite direction of the dot-bomb curve because we put our backs into the work, figuratively speaking.

Did it help our careers? Absolutely. Not at that start-up company, of course, but everybody who played on that team has taken the skills that we honed there and moved on to much more lucrative, much less stressful career options that they couldn't've gotten without the trials-by-fire.

In the US, my experience is that if you want a better job or a raise, you usually have to change companies (unless the company is large enough to support internal transfers), so you have to make sure that the "silly" time that you invest in a project is something that you can use to improve your resume when it comes time to move on.
Steve Jones
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I'd agree with David that in the short term, on a project or two, the mega hours help you. I've worked overnight on SQL issues at times and I've learned as much from those experiences as months of regular time. Those are invaluable and pack an amazing amount of experience into a short time.

But those work in the short term. Running for a year, or even months like that isn't necessarily good for the health or careers of the people or company. If there's success, then it helps, but if the company fails, invariably there will be plenty of people that feel let down and they will have missed something of life.

It's also a young person's game. Once you have a family, not sure you can make those trade offs and feel good about it.

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Wayne West
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Steve Jones - Editor (9/10/2008)
... It's also a young person's game. Once you have a family, not sure you can make those trade offs and feel good about it.

Definitely! I had a stint of unemployment a few years back and my (then) girlfriend was saying that I should enroll in this degree program to get a degree in video game development. Talk about a young man's game, no thank you! I'm 40 (at that time), and have no interest in low-level coding.

I haven't had too many heavy runs of extended hours, and having no more would be fine by me!

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David Reed-223505
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Interesting calculator of hourly rate: http://www.erlglobal.com/index.php?pageName=rate

I can work 60 hours per week and take 2 weeks of vacation, no sick time (might have to take some after the election, though), which nets 3,040 "billable" hours per year... divide by zero and, voila! Is that really what I work for per hour? For sitting in meetings and reading email? Schweet!

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Well, a lot has changed since 2008. BlackBerry! Who remembers that! Hilarious!

:-)

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
Bertrand Russell

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