Are We Suckers?

  • Alastair Marshall

    Valued Member

    Points: 51

    The realty of work is that the longer the hours we work on a given day, the less productive most people become. Who hasn't been there well into the night hours, trying to resolve what seems like an insurmountable problem. Yet in the clarity of the next day the solution becomes clear.

    Yes, there are of course times when extra (unpaid) hours are needed to resolve urgent issues, but they are often not the most productive way to work and combined with an expectation by your organization to do them, with zero thanks and appreciation for that, it is very hard to stay motivated and productive.

  • etm1109

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1007

    The employers that need to read blogs like this, won't take the time to read this. Those that implicitly understand these issues already read these blogs....the great employer/employee conundrum.

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 395319

    etm1109 (12/18/2015)


    The employers that need to read blogs like this, won't take the time to read this. Those that implicitly understand these issues already read these blogs....the great employer/employee conundrum.

    Also, the great technologist conundrum too.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • JustMarie

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7770

    I'm salaried with the expectation of 40 hours per week with the occasional extra time needed. Occasional. We're not on call nor are we business critical.

    I'm lucky that my management understands that when we're at work we work and then we go home.

    My 'above and beyond' is the quality of work I try to provide for the time they pay me to work. If the expectations change and suddenly a 60 hour week is the new normal I'll probably start shopping out my resume.

    I work so I can have a life. Work is not my life.

  • Anders Pedersen

    SSChampion

    Points: 11410

    My worst experience was doing a 6.5 to 7 upgrade. Worked 6 AM to 9 PM, 6 days a week, for about 9 months. No complaints, it needed done, and 7 was new so I wanted the experience. At the same time however there was an application team that was about 12 months behind schedule, and not ONE of them worked a minute over normal hours. Again, no big deal, doesn't affect me.

    2 weeks before I was due for the production switch to 7, the application team was told they would get overtime to try to get it done. No mention of me getting anything. Asked my boss, and was told I could get it for the rest of my upgrade project. I walked out a month later.

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124967

    Alastair Marshall (12/18/2015)


    The realty of work is that the longer the hours we work on a given day, the less productive most people become. Who hasn't been there well into the night hours, trying to resolve what seems like an insurmountable problem. Yet in the clarity of the next day the solution becomes clear.

    Yes, there are of course times when extra (unpaid) hours are needed to resolve urgent issues, but they are often not the most productive way to work and combined with an expectation by your organization to do them, with zero thanks and appreciation for that, it is very hard to stay motivated and productive.

    A mandated 50 or 60 hour work week really does decrease the productivity of a team.

    How? Because the best team members will drop off one by one to pursue better opportunities at other companies.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Aaron N. Cutshall

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8686

    Anders Pedersen (12/18/2015)


    2 weeks before I was due for the production switch to 7, the application team was told they would get overtime to try to get it done. No mention of me getting anything. Asked my boss, and was told I could get it for the rest of my upgrade project. I walked out a month later.

    One time when I worked 10 hour days on average from Saturday through Thursday to fix an emergency issue, I merely asked for Friday off as comp time because I was exhausted. When I was told that I'd have to take it as a vacation day, I spend my "vacation" day applying for a new position.

  • David Stokes-418497

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 40

    My two cents... Love what you do and you'll never have to work a day in you're life. There are differences in the mindset of work to view it as either a job or a career.

    I have used this idea throughout my experiences and goals in life. Fact is that Customers, Employers, Board members, Self, Family, Friends etc. will never have a shortage of needs and wants. I learned that I certainly wont be able to please everyone. However, I learned to love it all and adopted the correct attitudes. I believe I found my way to get that "Balance" and have enjoyed all the benefits that come with it. I had the realization that it boiled down to my own mindsets and perceptions in the way I choose to look at and deal with the whole kit and caboodle.

    To me, the question is not how to achieve work life balance. Instead, its all about how to find a way to make a really tasty "career smoothie".

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33089

    First the first time in several years I am now an hourly employee again. So there's no such thing as working overtime for no money or other compensation. In fact my boss probably doesn't want me working one minute over 40 hours a week, unless some crisis comes up (hasn't happened yet).

    In my previous job I was salary and yes I did work overtime for no pay. And I enjoyed it, too. I will say that I didn't do it often, but always felt good about it when I did.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • etm1109

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1007

    Craigmeister (12/18/2015)


    Another part of the complexity is the "slave labor" idea might be accepted by people just starting out. The article sort of mentions those people, but the author really glossed over that aspect, only casually mentioning those who willingly work for free, since he was clearly not one of those people.

    In fact, those starting out may sort of need to actually be slave labor to get the experience needed to move up and move on. Actually having experience (no matter how bad of an experience it is) seems to be the coin of the realm now, rather than a degree. It very difficult to get a job now-a-days without it. So they will endure what they can (and hopefully learn all they can) until the opportunity comes along to get them out of that situation.

    That was the reason for my reaction of disgust, frankly, to the "Occupy" folks. There was a point to what they were protesting, but they came across as whiny brats that didn't want to start at the bottom and work their way up like everyone else.

    Does this sort of turn the conversation on its head?

    Is there a "rite of passage" idea that sort of justifies the "slave labor" treatment for people starting out?

    I believe the issue with the 'occupy' folks is they saw a lot of people in our generation give those hours throughout their careers only to find ourselves out of work or retraining our overseas replacements in our mid-40/50s. They decided to not travel that road and I don't blame them one bit.

  • Michael L John

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25691

    If you love what you are doing, spending hours on hours "geeking out" is fun, not work.

    This becomes an issue when there are situations created that force you to work ridiculous hours. As an example, at a previous position, the boss waved the "we get so much done with so few resources" flag on a daily basis.

    What he failed to understand was what was getting done was a series of hacks, patches, cracks, and workarounds that were holding the system together. The end users didn't know any better, so everyone was happy. There was no time to innovate, analyze, plan, or prepare.

    Michael L John
    If you assassinate a DBA, would you pull a trigger?
    To properly post on a forum:
    http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/61537/

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124967

    Michael L John (12/18/2015)


    If you love what you are doing, spending hours on hours "geeking out" is fun, not work.

    This becomes an issue when there are situations created that force you to work ridiculous hours. As an example, at a previous position, the boss waved the "we get so much done with so few resources" flag on a daily basis.

    What he failed to understand was what was getting done was a series of hacks, patches, cracks, and workarounds that were holding the system together. The end users didn't know any better, so everyone was happy. There was no time to innovate, analyze, plan, or prepare.

    Speaking of hacks, patches, and cracks; it would seem that all those extra hours required of limited staff may not be "free" after all when we consider the accumulation of technical debt.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714678

    samot-dwarf (12/18/2015)


    Regarding extra money vs. free time for extra hours:

    I think it depends on many factors. I by myself have to work not many extra hours. On the other hand, I have a house and to to pay off the credits. So - if I do some work at a saturday - I prefer to be paid for it.

    The extra money could be spent on a better / longer vacation or to buy some new fancy stuff for me or my familiy members. If I would have free time e.g. at Tuesday instead, this time would be wasted, because my childrens are at school / my wife at work.

    On the other hand a colleague on a previous job prefered free time. He was older (could be an important factor) and had no very high monthly expenses (and a good basis salary), so he had no real benefit for extra money.

    Makes me think I should be paid by the hour some days.

    If you can get extra money, it's good. I worked at a salaried job where we got paid for on call work after hours. There was an allowance of 10 or so calls a week, after which we got paid by the call. Not a great trade, since calls take time, but most were short.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714678

    Aaron N. Cutshall (12/18/2015)


    I saw a quote from Richard Branson the other day on LinkedIn that summarizes my feelings: "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients."

    That's great.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714678

    Grant Fritchey (12/18/2015)


    ...

    Make exceptions for emergencies, but exceptions should be exceptional.

    I often remember this quote from you. It's a good one.

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