Are We Suckers?

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104772

    Matt Miller (#4) (12/22/2015)


    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.

    That sounds right to me; the juniors are the guys without experience, the last people you want working extra hours so that they get tired and make mistakes becasue while their mistakes may have less impact than seniors' mistakes they are far more likely to make them that the senior people.

    Tom

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104772

    I've never found this much of a problem. I've worked a lot of unpaid hours, but also not worked during a lot of paid time - my employers have generally been pretty sensible about these things, I've often had a stake in the company's results which got me good bonuses, and sometimes had share options (profitable) and even gifts of shares, and besides mostly my work was enormous fun.

    I find I can work a long week without getting tired, but can't do it every week. The idea that one becomes tired and incompetent after one fifty hour week is pure nonsense, as is he idea that one can do a 60 hour week every week.

    Tom

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75199

    TomThomson (12/31/2015)


    I find I can work a long week without getting tired, but can't do it every week. The idea that one becomes tired and incompetent after one fifty hour week is pure nonsense, as is he idea that one can do a 60 hour week every week.

    for me this boils down to the old saw of "Find a job doing something you love and you'll never do another days work again". It's the nature of the work as well as the time that makes the difference.

    A death march task can make a 37hour week feel over-long. A stimulating project can make a long week fly by and leave you buzzing for the week ahead!

    Similarly working in a bureaucratic, process heavy, penny pinching environment can make every minute feel like an hour.

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33152

    David.Poole (12/31/2015)


    TomThomson (12/31/2015)


    I find I can work a long week without getting tired, but can't do it every week. The idea that one becomes tired and incompetent after one fifty hour week is pure nonsense, as is he idea that one can do a 60 hour week every week.

    for me this boils down to the old saw of "Find a job doing something you love and you'll never do another days work again". It's the nature of the work as well as the time that makes the difference.

    A death march task can make a 37hour week feel over-long. A stimulating project can make a long week fly by and leave you buzzing for the week ahead!

    Similarly working in a bureaucratic, process heavy, penny pinching environment can make every minute feel like an hour.

    Finding a job here you do something you love isn't always possible. Believe me, I've got experience at not being able to find a job doing what I love. Sometimes you've just got to take whatever job is offered; its either that or become homeless.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Matt Miller (4)

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124185

    TomThomson (12/31/2015)


    Matt Miller (#4) (12/22/2015)


    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.

    That sounds right to me; the juniors are the guys without experience, the last people you want working extra hours so that they get tired and make mistakes becasue while their mistakes may have less impact than seniors' mistakes they are far more likely to make them that the senior people.

    I get that junior employees often need to catch the less desirable tasks, but they shouldn't be treated as bullet catchers or cannon fodder as I've seen in many places. Being pressured to stay hours past your day's over day after day in a dev environment just to catch some guessed deadline with no grounding in reality doesn't teach you anything other than the place you work for is heartless and undeserving. It's really a delicate balance: work hard, and encourage others to do the same, but it needs to continue to be appreciated: once you start expecting/demanding that extra mile - then you're abusing the privilege.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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?

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104772

    Matt Miller (#4) (1/4/2016)


    TomThomson (12/31/2015)


    Matt Miller (#4) (12/22/2015)


    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.

    That sounds right to me; the juniors are the guys without experience, the last people you want working extra hours so that they get tired and make mistakes becasue while their mistakes may have less impact than seniors' mistakes they are far more likely to make them that the senior people.

    I get that junior employees often need to catch the less desirable tasks, but they shouldn't be treated as bullet catchers or cannon fodder as I've seen in many places. Being pressured to stay hours past your day's over day after day in a dev environment just to catch some guessed deadline with no grounding in reality doesn't teach you anything other than the place you work for is heartless and undeserving. It's really a delicate balance: work hard, and encourage others to do the same, but it needs to continue to be appreciated: once you start expecting/demanding that extra mile - then you're abusing the privilege.

    That seems an odd response, sort of as if you thought we disagreed. It makes me wonder if my Englishh means something where you are that it could not imaginably have meant anywhere I've ever been.

    Tom

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    Howard Perry (12/22/2015)


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

    Yep. Did that.

    I worked on a project where the PM said that any hours we did would be paid (contractors) and the staff would be compensated in some way. Four months after doing 16 hour days I was shattered and realised that I was the only one doing extra time (some were doing an hour here and an hour there but nothing significant). The project (and my contract) finished at the start of a December and I was in my pajamas until after Christmas (involuntary so).

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Howard Perry

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 751

    Gary,

    Apart from the dollars for extra hours worked and some personal satisfaction, did you receive any other benefits for your efforts e.g. new contract thereafter, glowing reference, gesture of appreciation?

    Do you know how the contribution of the permanents was recognised?

    How long were you sick thereafter?

    Howard

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    I received nothing. (I am a well paid freelancer so was adequately compensated fiscally, however, as a human being I think I needed a "Your efforts are appreciated" type comment.)

    The permanent staff got partly compensated via a bit of time off in lieu.

    Basically, I lost December. I could not believe that I made myself into a shell of my former self for a number of weeks. I think that it is the nearest I have come to a clear understanding of mental health issues.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • call.copse

    SSCoach

    Points: 16917

    It's always extra money. If I need time off in the week I can always 'work from home'.

  • keith.macdonald

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 27

    There's a real human personalities paradox at the heart of many high-tech firms.

    Individually, many of us like our jobs and are willing to work hard. Not necessarily for the pay, but for the satisfaction of doing our best to create a good product.

    The paradox is that *somehow* the organisation ends-up behaving like a sociopath. Many famous-names in "senior management" of very well-known firms certainly behave like sociopaths (or worse). Devaluing employees as "resources" to be used and spent like a form of money. With corporate language (like "strategy") borrowed from the military, as though doing business is a form of warfare.

    No wonder that many feel like they are working in a Dilbert cartoon, or Scott Adams must be watching their meetings 🙂

     

  • dave.farmer

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2371

    I fell into this game as a youngster, but pretty quickly discovered that there's no reward, the extra hours rarely earn you pay, appreciation or even get noticed.

    Recent years have been characterised by the "we're breaking records, month after month, but the arbitrary targets we set were even bigger so we have failed and can all have just a little less than inflation this year" approach. None of the extra hours worked on increasingly rare occasions make the slightest bit of difference. The ultra-rich owners of the parent company get ultra-richer, the workers actually making them their money get a small real-terms pay cut each year as a reward.

    So yes, giving your free time to help rich people get richer is a mug's game, and disaster-recovery aside, I'm not playing any more.

  • KerryH

    SSChasing Mays

    Points: 620

    I have developed somewhat of a balance over the years, but probably not a perfect one.  I used to work a great deal of overtime generally for no extra pay or benefit.  But some things that happened that helped put life in perspective.  My son drowned in the high schools swimming pool during swim team practice.  No he's totally recovered, CPR saved his life, but sitting next to him in intensive care made me reflect on what's really important in life.  Likewise, my daughter suffered a stroke.  She's totally recovered, but again, what really matters in life?  I searched for what the meaning of work really is.  A common definition found today is, "A necessary evil to earn money so I can buy things and have fun."  But that definition may never lead to satisfaction with work.  I found that work defined as, "Using your God-given skills to improve the lives of others (including your employer), to make the world a better place."  This provide satisfaction with work.  But you must also contribute to the world outside of work.  What will your kids, your friends, your community be like if you are not a part of their lives?  And your employer should treat you with the same respect that you are giving.  2 of my kids recently took other jobs with cuts in pay because the required overtime was not allowing them to lead meaningful lives.

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75199

    You need three things to be happy in life

    • To feel you are achieving something
    • To feel that what you achieving is worth while
    • To feel that what you are achieving is appreciated

    You also have to consider the following

    1. What are you good at?
    2. What are you known for being good at?
    3. What do you want to be known as good at?
    4. What do you get to practise a lot?

    If you have something at work that falls into all 4 categories then you will be happy at work.

    No one likes to be played for a sucker but it isn't as simple as hours x rate = reward.

    Do you find your work interesting and stimulating?  Are you learning stuff you want to learn or that is of value to you?  Do you enjoy the company of your work colleagues?

    It's been years since someone tried to guilt trip me with regard to work and at this stage in my life I would be much happier telling such a person to go away using robust terminology.

  • Y.B.

    SSChampion

    Points: 11534

    Great article Steve and thanks for sharing the link to the original.  I've been pretty lucky in the sense that my employers understood the value of work/life balance.  If you worked extra you could bank that time later.  The more a company takes care of you the more you are willing to do for them in return.  You would think mutualism should come more naturally as it only makes sense.  However, I think sometimes the animal kingdom has it better figured out.

    Anyway, now I'm in a government job in a Union...very weird and very much a first time for someone who has spent 20 years in IT.  Talk about a completely differnt culture.  There is absolute zero expectation beyond what's in the contract.  That too also has it's downsides but I digress...


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