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mikthe20

Mad Hours In The Corporate World

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I've been self-employed for almost 20 years. The last 4 years since I became a single parent (got rid of the borderline crazy bitch and kids with me full time) I've been working as a consultant (IT/marketing). These were mainly on a part-time basis and with local companies so I could do the school pick-up etc. All good but not great pay.

Anyroad, post-Summer holidays (took August off with the kids) I thought maybe I could look for larger clients with better rates since my youngest is now settled at secondary school and can let himself in after school.

Fortunately I sunk a couple of nice contracts for 6 months - one with a large IT services company plc paying good money and one with a charity (not such a good rate but one that's close to my heart). Both in London. And ****** me do these people work long hours! I know it's partly the email culture where people always respond, but these people work far longer hours than is healthy and far longer than the presenteeism I used to see when I had corporate jobs in the 90s. These people are in the office before 8 and leave 6-7. The boss of one actually said to me he makes sure he's first in and last out so people see it as an example - very Japanese. I get in at 9 ****** off at 5 as I have kids (and a commute) and told them kids come first and I need to get back in time to make them a decent meal. Fortunately 2/3 days a week for me are at home, but with long commutes and long hours I have no idea how these people keep it up.

Anyone else seeing this and if you're an employee how the hell do you tolerate it? It seems so much worse than it used to be. I am sure more doesn't get done - there's a limit to people's productivity.

[goes off to check work emails...]

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Prozac. Half the nation seems to be on this, or similar. When you dig down, many of these tireless workers are basically taking something because most normal human beings couldn't keep it up.

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I've been self-employed for almost 20 years. The last 4 years since I became a single parent (got rid of the borderline crazy bitch and kids with me full time) I've been working as a consultant (IT/marketing). These were mainly on a part-time basis and with local companies so I could do the school pick-up etc. All good but not great pay.

Anyroad, post-Summer holidays (took August off with the kids) I thought maybe I could look for larger clients with better rates since my youngest is now settled at secondary school and can let himself in after school.

Fortunately I sunk a couple of nice contracts for 6 months - one with a large IT services company plc paying good money and one with a charity (not such a good rate but one that's close to my heart). Both in London. And ****** me do these people work long hours! I know it's partly the email culture where people always respond, but these people work far longer hours than is healthy and far longer than the presenteeism I used to see when I had corporate jobs in the 90s. These people are in the office before 8 and leave 6-7. The boss of one actually said to me he makes sure he's first in and last out so people see it as an example - very Japanese. I get in at 9 ****** off at 5 as I have kids (and a commute) and told them kids come first and I need to get back in time to make them a decent meal. Fortunately 2/3 days a week for me are at home, but with long commutes and long hours I have no idea how these people keep it up.

Anyone else seeing this and if you're an employee how the hell do you tolerate it? It seems so much worse than it used to be. I am sure more doesn't get done - there's a limit to people's productivity.

[goes off to check work emails...]

Your last line nails it. Reduced productivity per hour.

I've heard of people going home with their PC left on and their jacket over the back of the chair so the boss thinks they're still in. Mental.

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Stick to your contracted hours, no more, no less.

Once you bite the overtime biscuit, you're their bitch for life...

XYY

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Isn't this just the common function of corporate environments - they need to see they have control of their employees, so long hours are just an expression of obedience to the greater organisation, prove you won't rock the boat

And how do they force you to be so humiliatingly obedient?

Mortgage debt

This also happens (a lifetime debt to pay off the tribal elders) I believe in marriage contacts in primitive tribes

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Worked at one company like that.

I was lucky that I was judged by performance, not clocked hours.. others with more administrative roles were not as lucky and were routinely bullied into pulling crazy hours because it was the "work ethos".

The fact was, despite it being listed in broadsheets as a fantastic employer to work for, this particular division was hopeless and the pressure pushed onto the "leaders" to perform was simply passed down each rung of the ladder until everyone was pulling long hours and trying to look busy. The lack of leadership and clear direction meant they were really little more than busy fools.

Working at successful companies is completely different (IME).. relaxed, motivated, happy staff working regular hours and pulling occasional voluntary overtime where needed simply because they take pride in their jobs.

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It is the London way especially. I have had colleagues email me at 11pm, with the vague expectation that I'll respond. Particularly true of management level jobs. I do most of the emergency weekend/out of hours work because quite frankly I believe it's deeply unfair to ask those I manage to do so.

Personally, I blame the internet. It has created a 24 hours global culture, and that has bleed into work. If a piece of vaguely important news comes out, many of your stakeholders expect you to have a response out within an hour no matter what the time of day is because news cycles are now 24 hour. If you're a small-medium sized organisation, that likely means a few people are regularly doing unpaid overtime - and the example is often set at the top.

Found it particularly punishing over the last year as I've basically been doing two jobs at my workplace. Finally realised I needed to make some changes because I was regularly starting at 6am, and often not leaving the desk until 7-8pm for several months, and got to the end of July without having taken a days holiday this calendar year. I have pulled back considerably since then. The job is more of a calling than a job - but even so it was getting ridiculous. The time sensitive part of my job has also shifted in a recent restructure so some other poor schmuck will be getting the after hours requests.

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Prozac. Half the nation seems to be on this, or similar. When you dig down, many of these tireless workers are basically taking something because most normal human beings couldn't keep it up.

Sadly, I know a woman who works long hours to service her large mortgage (husband likewise), and she has just had a miscarriage

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I too have heard its especially a London thing. I try to work as little as possible for as much as possible.

I do decent work though - and its contract - so if I was pish - they would launch me in a second.

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Isn't this just the common function of corporate environments - they need to see they have control of their employees, so long hours are just an expression of obedience to the greater organisation, prove you won't rock the boat

And how do they force you to be so humiliatingly obedient?

Mortgage debt

This also happens (a lifetime debt to pay off the tribal elders) I believe in marriage contacts in primitive tribes

 

no, when you're a contractor a straight 9-5 is not really an option.

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no, when you're a contractor a straight 9-5 is not really an option.

Indeed - my last few have been more like 10-4 :)

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I'm finding people where I work, me included, are all working longer hours.

I wouldn't say we are actually getting any more done though.

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no, when you're a contractor a straight 9-5 is not really an option.

Depending on the contract and your skills, then they still may have you by the balls, especially if it's just bums on seats work

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Indeed - my last few have been more like 10-4 :)

lucky b*****d!

I get one or two days like that where stuff I need hasn't turned up on time, but most of the time it's 8-7 or 7.30, plus weekends.

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lucky b*****d!

I get one or two days like that where stuff I need hasn't turned up on time, but most of the time it's 8-7 or 7.30, plus weekends.

The last week or two I have probably done about 50 hours each - I feel abused !!

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A nose to the grindstone culture seems to be a dangerous vortex to be swimming around.

Some of the most aggressive and least satisfied individuals I have come across seem to have extremely stressful work patterns. Often tested to destruction by it too. If they are lucky they'll still be young when they crack, if not then they may realise the sacrifices involved to become a late forties/early fifties burnout were not worth the money.

Pretty sad stereotypes, some of those I know of. Loaded, big house, marriage failing but no time to split up, kids screwed up by a lack of personal space as M+D are shelling out a small fortune sending them to every extracurricular class going to try and hide their own absenteeism.. No way to live imo.

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Isn't this just the common function of corporate environments - they need to see they have control of their employees, so long hours are just an expression of obedience to the greater organisation, prove you won't rock the boat

And how do they force you to be so humiliatingly obedient?

Mortgage debt

This also happens (a lifetime debt to pay off the tribal elders) I believe in marriage contacts in primitive tribes

It's so transparent! :lol: Do any of these social anthropologists make the connection?

I'm not in this environment any more but if I were I think I would immediately call back anyone who emailed me after work to find out just how important it is. I'd make sure I have their home number, so I don't get fobbed off with voicemail.

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People that are good at their work are generally given more leeway....meet your targets and go home at three......time is money....money is time.

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People that are good at their work are generally given more leeway....meet your targets and go home at three......time is money....money is time.

I'd like to see it

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I'd like to see it

It of course is dependant on the type of work you do and if employed the type of boss you have....but for some that are highly competent in their jobs and get what needs to be done effectively without time wasting and time is more important and valuable to them than promotion and unwanted extra responsibility meaning less future time more agro, emails,on call etc,etc.

Good companies need steady, strong, reliable foundations.... Something that is not that easy to replace.

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