Are We Suckers?

  • Anders Pedersen

    SSChampion

    Points: 11410

    Aaron N. Cutshall (12/18/2015)


    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.

    Oh I have had to call myself into the bosses office....

    One day in one job I worked from 6 AM, problem hit us as I was packing up. Ended up working with the develop until 5 AM fixing it. Sent my boss an email saying I would be in when I wake up. Boss called me at 8:10 AM asking why I was not in for work yet, and that I was expected to be at work 8 every day. This was shortly after I had started working there, told him very politely when I came into the office at 9 that I am ok with working 8 AM every morning, but then I will also leave at 5 PM every day. No exceptions.

  • eccentricDBA

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4844

    Here is what I have found related to this. As long as it's not abused there is no issue. We live in a free market and those with the skills to succeed will go where they are the best fit. Some people strive on being the hero and love the recognition that comes with working long hours. Some people are organized and plan and can accomplish more within a shorter time frame.

    The reason why we are paid a salary because we are "Learned professionals". We work independently and are knowledge-base workers. Other positions that fall in this classification is Accountants, doctors, lawyers, registered nurses and teachers. To put this another way, our tasks are complex in nature and require advance knowledge to solve and because of this we can't go to a job book to determine how long it should take to complete the task so a job classification was created to justly compensate us.

    What happens when management requires their employees to work overtime in these positions is that no actual increase work is completed. We start socializing more in between the times that we must have "face time" in the office. We begin fluffy up our status reports about what we are working on. The focus becomes more about time in seat than meeting company objectives.

    That being said. There is always something that needs to be done, that can be improved. Those of use who can't leave things along tend to put more hours in not thinking about it because we have a since of "It's the right thing to do". However, we need to know when to stop and step away to come back to it again later and live our lives.

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33109

    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."

    How do I work for that man?

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75109

    In short when it is perceived as mutually beneficial there are no complaints on either side.

    For the extra hours I put in I gained knowledge, the satisfaction of solving challenging puzzles, the chance to work with people with a common interest, mental stimulation.

    Do you count going to SQLBits or SQL Saturday as work? Although I go for the sheer pleasure of it it certainly isn't down time.

    Similarly writing for Sqlservercentral is a pleasure but hard work. Is it downtime? Hard to say?

    It is mentally stimulating, tiring but it is like doing your day job but with you as the beneficiary

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25531

    I normally work till 7pm on most days. But, that's because I really enjoy what I do. I don't get anything extra for my effort directly, but I like to think my constant promotions and raises are in result of that hard work.

    I'm surely one of those people who would see an issue with employees not caring enough to go the extra mile. I just wouldn't be one of those leaders who think it's their fault nor define going the extra mile as just working late. People have lives outside of work. The working mom or dad sometimes do not have the luxury of working late regardless if they have the passion to do so or not. That's a good thing, not a bad thing.

    I wish more leaders could identify what going the extra mile actually meant. It's not just working till 7pm. Most of the time it's in the work people do from 8AM to 5PM that really defines what that extra mile actually is to the business.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715107

    David.Poole (12/18/2015)


    Do you count going to SQLBits or SQL Saturday as work? Although I go for the sheer pleasure of it it certainly isn't down time.

    Agree. There are nuances. These are a blend for me. Work, but also donated time from me since I still work M-F. However I also get some benefits, so I liken those to a hobby for me. Same while working on Python coding. Not directly for work, some benefits there, but more for me.

  • Howard Perry

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 751

    I think you missed an and: compensation should be about results AND hours.

    Excellent point, Mike. Putting in extra time to solve a problem and not succeeding is depressing enough but to be told that the time you gave up from your personal life did not yield success, so it doesn't count, makes you think, that's the last time I will make the extra effort. Furthermore, I can think of far more pleasant ways of spending the extra time in front of a computer screen either in the office or elsewhere, so I expect this time I give up to be appreciated and not just in terms of money or straight time in lieu.

    Time is something of which we all have a limited amount.

  • Ed Wagner

    SSC Guru

    Points: 286957

    Steve Jones - SSC Editor (12/19/2015)


    David.Poole (12/18/2015)


    Do you count going to SQLBits or SQL Saturday as work? Although I go for the sheer pleasure of it it certainly isn't down time.

    Agree. There are nuances. These are a blend for me. Work, but also donated time from me since I still work M-F. However I also get some benefits, so I liken those to a hobby for me.

    Same here. I don't get paid any extra for going, but there are huge benefits for me. I also enjoy SQL Saturday events. You get to meet some very interesting and cool people.

  • dragonfly

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 113

    I think employees should certainly be compensated for the effort put in, be it in extra pay or time off.

    BUT, I see some colleagues thinking that working in IT is a 9-5 job.

    It's not. We know this up front. Flexibility is required.

    I do not encourage people to work more than they're paid, but to be flexible with when they do the work. Employees need also recognize this and facilitate it accordingly.

  • akljfhnlaflkj

    SSC Guru

    Points: 76202

    Gary Varga (12/18/2015)


    Yes.

    So are many employers.

    Ideally the worst employers get the worst employees and vice-verse. Strangely enough this is what I have tended to see. The worst employers lose all their decent staff and the worst employees eventually get stuck at a terrible employer. [There are always exceptions.]

    Interesting perspective. No matter how good or bad my employers have been, we always seem to see both good and bad "transition" through our ranks. I'm hoping your are at least mostly right and the good employees we have will stick around in what I believe to be a "good employer" environment.

  • mike.gallamore

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 563

    Well it is also a matter of often the reason why we are working long hours are outside of our control. Coming right out of a Dilbert cartoon: sales guy promises something for delivery next week, dev and IT get to work around the clock to make it happen. Or the spec changes right before release and what would have been enough time gets all the work thrown out and redone.

    Also, often legacy issues: you've harped for years to fix something now it blew up and needs to be fixed at 2am on Christmas Eve. No one can tell you for sure that the world will end if that system isn't back up start of business Monday but "you better do it just in case". I used a personal credit card once for a job to get vendor after hours support then my boss had to fight purchasing to get me paid back. I was supposed to get a P/O number from purchasing first, at 9pm with a cancer centre going to be unoperational at 7am should it not get fixed. It got sorted but somehow we are supposed to be available all the time and just get it done, but we can't inconvenience anyone else, or miss place a form (which I wasn't aware of and no one was around to tell me) in the process. Tempting to think what would happen shutting down the systems outside of 9-5 just like the rest of the company does when we need them. I suspect some level of blank cheque in terms of dropping process in exchange for no 2am calls would happen pretty quick.

  • TheFault

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 974

    I worked at a place which involved leaving office at 7-8pm most nights. No overtime or time in lieu. The worst thing is that the culture was such that i always felt i wasn't pulling my weight compared to the hours other colleagues put in.

  • Howard Perry

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 751

    TheFault (12/22/2015)


    I worked at a place which involved leaving office at 7-8pm most nights, going home to eat something quickly then log in again for some change promotion or maintenance till midnight. No overtime, no time in lieu. The worst thing is that the culture was such that i always felt i wasn't pulling my weight compared to the hours other colleagues put in.

    That's when your thoughts turn to being a contractor and being paid for every hour worked. However, even contractors get burnout through overwork.

    As a manager from a long time ago said to me "if you are having to work these kinds of hours", it means the company is short of staff.

  • Howard Perry

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 751

    I used a personal credit card once for a job to get vendor after hours support then my boss had to fight purchasing to get me paid back. I was supposed to get a P/O number from purchasing first.

    That's when you appreciate, why the vendor wouldn't give you support and charge for it later i.e. he wouldn't get paid. No doubt your company didn't think it needed or didn't want to pay for an out-of-hours support contract.

    In such a situation, the logical solution is to pass the problem back up the layers of management but this doesn't help you get the job done quickly, so you can go home, So you use your initiative, get problem fixed quickly and are penalised for it,as per Dilbert.

  • Matt Miller (4)

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124173

    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?

    The rite of passage concept is fairly diseased in my opinion, often used as a thinly veiled excuse for underpaying and abusing level entry workers, and justify a lack of planning and resourcing in general. Don't get me wrong - I believe in working hard and going beyond, but the point of "going beyond" is that it needs to be recognized as such. Are there things I needed to do to gain experience? absolutely - let's just keep it in check. An actual apprenticeship program I understand would agree to: a lot of what I saw coming up felt a lot more like hazing.

    I've been at a lot of places where the level I's were used to fill the gap for hardware and software upgrade no one bothered to pay for. Healthcare IT for one: actual IT is the lowest on the budgeting priority so just use your staff as bullet catchers instead. Fairly disgusting practice for an industry supposedly dedicated to making life better for others.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?

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