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How Many Hours Do You Work in a Week? 416

Gnight asks: "After reading a recent article at ABC News stating that U.S. citizens work more than any other industrialized country, I have started to wonder more about the subject. So my question is, how much does the average slashdot reader work in a week? Where do you live? and What do you do?" Slashdot did an informal poll on this a long time ago, but it was more from the workday standpoint, though it looked like the majority of us were working 9-10 hour days. Is it still the same today as it was almost 2 years ago?
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How Many Hours Do You Work in a Week?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I barely work 8 hours a day, if that, when various distractions are included. I don't make as much as those who work in the private sector, but I do get to go home at 5:00 and have a life outside of work.

    Of course watching the state-sponsored work ethic has done more than anything to influence my political beliefs toward Libertarian.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, your database guy can't read or write then? Or is it, you can't be bothered to DOCUMENT how it is you do things around there? It is SOOO easy for someone to complain about thier 'importance' to the company, when the fact is, they simply create more work for themselves by being disorganized.

    Don't feel bad, you are in good company. Most IT 'profesionals' keep everything in thier heads. They are also the ones bitching about 'no vacation time, I'm too important'.

    This goes true for most any 'service' type job, the guys that are REALLY good at it, make it look easy. The hacks complain about how difficult the job really is, and look for sympathy.

    I still manage to command top dollar for my services, and my number of actual 'work' hours has declined steadily for the last 4 years (before, I was 'too important' to take vacations.)
    The pay is for knowing where to hit the machine with the hammer. (for those of you who know that story, you will 'get it')

    Which one are you, reader?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:32AM (#247637)
    ...~40 hours a week at "real" job ...~15-30 hours a week shooting for F1RST P0ST.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:38AM (#247638)
    I'm at work 40 hours a week. I work about 5.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:04AM (#247639)
    Which is like what, six American hours?

  • There are few workers less useful than the worker who has been up for 36 hours. I try to steer clear of cultures which value either volume of hours or which insist on strict 8-5. I value results from my people, and I expect that results will be enough for the people over me. There's nothing worse than listening to some idiot crow about how he works 80 hours a week when you *know* that he doesn't get anything done.


  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @03:01PM (#247641) Homepage
    if there was some device that you could use at work that would increase your productivity by 20%, why do you still work 5 days a week.

    There is such a device; I call it "The Cat 'o Nine Tails". Works wonders in the arena of employee relations.


  • Note, some moderator moded the parent down for being off topic.

    So what does having 1 job and three side buisnesses that take pretty much most of my time off topic? I don't know either. Thats why I spend most of my moderating points these days fixing bad moderation. This is blatantly off topic.

    1) With rare exceptions, no funny post is better than an informative post (rare exceptions). Only people who get their political commentary from Bvs&Bthd (as opposed to the Simpsons or PPG which has intelligent commentary) thing funny is better. Funny enough, the same people that understand B&B are the same ones that understand Democrats. Go figure.

    2) Moderators are to be at -1 to watch for abuses. Thats not to moderate someone to -2, thats to keep moderators from pushing down good posts that might conflict with prejudices or their inability to comprehend. I like saving those people.

    thats my rant, take it for what its worth.

  • I in general work 40-45 hrs a week. And will not work at all on the Jewish Sabbath, (Friday sundown to sat sundown). I don't care what blew up don't call me. Life is too short to work 70 hrs a week.
  • Good for you! if you had worked for me I would have had no problem with it.

    I started my job the week before Yom Kippor, I took it off. My boss's only remark was that I should write it on the callendar so if anyone was looking for me they would know why I was not there. Of course my boss took it off too.

    In the few months since I have started wearing a kippa all the time I have had no problems what so ever. I try to make sure I explain why I can't do something if someone asks.

    Joe Lieberman running for VP helped a lot. All of the sudden an observant Jew was in the headlines and doing things like not giving speaches on Shabbos. Made it much better for everyone else who ever had to wonder if they could say things like "No I won't come in on Saturday its Shabbos and I will be at the Shul with my family and community".
  • Fool! That is proper Canadian English and spelling.

    Nice try, but I *am* Canadian. But then again, I never was a very good one - not polite enough. And I lived in Quebec for 5 years, which makes me instantly suspicious to anybody living west of Brampton (where, God help me, I lived for a different 5 years).
  • by ptomblin ( 1378 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:56AM (#247650) Homepage Journal
    Do you count the hours I'm at work? Do you subtract from that the hours I spend reading Slashdot and The Register? How about the Half Life games? And the time spent talking to my cow orkers about non-work stuff?

    Do you add back in the hours when I've woken up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea of how to solve the latest problem? And do you count just the time awake writing it down so I don't forget it, or the time I spent mulling it over in my mind while half-asleep or watching TV? Do you add in the time I spend going over the code in my mind while driving to and from work?

    Do you add or subtract the time I spend at home working on my free software project, because while it's time I *don't* spend mulling over work problems, it's also time that keeps me sharp and remembering when software development was fun.

    Face it, the concept of hours worked is meaningless, and mostly used by people who mistake action for progress.

    I once worked on a job with a bunch of droids from Andersen Consulting. Andersen had a corporate culture of working 24 hours a day during crunch times, and it was *always* crunch times. I bought into it on one project with them, and used to wonder if it was worth getting undressed and into bed when I stumbled back to my hotel room at 4am realizing that I had a breakfast meeting at 6:30. But the second time I worked with these guys, I was working with a guy on this problem and we were going around in circles. I recognized what we were doing, and said that I was going home at 11:30pm. I got back into work the next morning, and the Anderoid was still working on the problem, having been there all night. And it appeared that all he'd done was try the same ideas we'd already tried twice before I went home. I, on the other hand, had realized what the problem was while showering and on the drive in had formulated a solution which had worked first time.
  • does a prostitute get paid for mastrubating?
  • . . . as if it wasn't already bad enough having to live in Canada.
  • Is a 40-hour week. That's not too bad, when you think about it. Pull 2 all-nighters, and get the rest of the week off! :)

    My previous job was a bit tougher. 80 hours/week, no benefits, no overtime, no sick leave, no lunch break - in fact, no breaks at all.

    Arguably, the previous company I worked for broke more employment laws than most companies have shareholders. About the only redeeming feature was (and is) that the people running the company have alienated so many people, they're unlikely to sell another product again. Sometimes, greed is expensive.

  • North Charleston, South Carolina, in the USA.

    English labor laws aren't exactly the finest the world has ever seen, but I used to believe that they were a -bit- better in America.

  • I'm a programmer living in Sweden. According to my contract, I work 40 hours a week at any hour that I prefer, and receive 5 weeks payed vacation. Overtime is not mandatory, but will give you more money. That, and I get to spend some time every year for further education. This is simply great: I'm allowed to start working when I'm awake and ready to start coding. My employer loves it too, since it makes me very much more effective.

  • For me, it depends on the project and what the customer wants.

    Currently, 8-5, M-F, Network Engineer. I do systems integration/consulting.

  • The article states that the US works more than Japan. Actually, this isn't too new, a similar report came out in 1998. But, many people in sociology and international politics tell a different story. Work hours in Japan are institutionally under reported. Japan has been in an economic recession since the early to mid 90's. As a result, the government mandated that all Japanese major corporations reduce the number of hours their employees worked.

    The theory was based on two assumptions. First, shorter work weeks would mean companies need to hire more people. This would help the rising unemployement. Second, Japanese business men were starting to get known for dying of heart attacks despite their general good health. The stress of work was killing the Japanese population.

    In order to comply with regulations, many companies started blacking out their windows at the traditional closing time. They started under reporting their hours. Et voila. The official story shows a decline in the average work week of Japanese.

    Americans are working more and more. But we still don't beat the Japanese.
  • It used to be that I worked an average of 50hrs a week. Filling time sheet is a pain, and therefore always put 8hrs/day, as it wont affect my salary anyhow.

    Sometime last year, the company moved, and it became impractical for me to commute with my car. Parking being horrendously expensive downtown, and the 1h30m drive didn't sound appealing (and now, the gas price).

    Although, taking the commuting train to work has significantly reduced the amount of stress in my days, the train hours force me down to 40h a week.

    On the plus side, I'm usually less fatigued at night, and have found that the amount I get done in a day has remained unchanged.

    An other plus side; there's something to be said about working downtown at 25-30 celsius and having a outward-slanted office window on the third floor, overlooking the sidewalk...

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • by ragnar ( 3268 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:53AM (#247662) Homepage
    I think this simply reflects something about the American value system. Some Americans will regard other nations as being lazy, but it really just comes down to how you define personal accomplishment. In America one of the early questions people ask is "what do you do", and invariable the answer beings with "I'm a [insert profession here]" instead of "I do [insert profession here]" In America, you are what you do professionally, and it is natural to have some pressure to do it well.

    I have lots of issues with this, and the 40 hour workweek is simply a mental trap for making good students into good consumers. Consider this for a moment... if there was some device that you could use at work that would increase your productivity by 20%, why do you still work 5 days a week. Why not be happy and work 4 days, assuming that the cost of the device were recovered.

    My take on this is that the length of the workweek has nothing to do with the work that has to be done. There is always more work that can be done, and there are always ways of shirking off the task of getting stuff done. I know both from experience. ;)

    My point here (and I do have one) is that this is a reflection of American values to work and consume. It is a value system I don't like very well, but I'll confess that I buy into it implicitely. This is an interesting topic though.

  • Being a consultant for a company, every week seems to entail going to a different customer, so the hours vary. Lately, though, it's been:

    - 8-10 hours/day at customer
    - 2-4 hours/day commute
    - 3-5 hours/day at home catching up on corporate e-mail and changes (200+ messages/day, and I don't think I'm on all the lists I need to be)

    Then there's the weekend where I routinely spend another 3-4 hours a day catching up on corporate email.

    So, that's 11-15 hours/day working, plus commute. God, I hate LA traffic.

  • I hate to followup my own post, but as another example, here's the coming week:

    Sunday: Fly to Tacoma
    Mon-Wed: customer site in downtown Tacoma
    Wed nite: fly to Salt Lake City
    Thu-Fri: customer site in SLC
    Fri nite: fly home

    Somehow, I doubt it'll be only 8 hour days this week too.

  • "Work less, spend less, live more fully"

    Right now, I work 8 hours a day. However, my material needs are few and I just end up saving most of what I earn. Of course, I don't want to wake up in 20 years having worked my youth away. So, I've been thinking about cutting my hours in half. I'd much rather be out running around getting into trouble and stuff than working, anyway. The nice thing about working in IT is that I could probably afford it, although it would make my life rather spartan.

    Has anyone reading this tried it? Were you able to really use your time wisely, or did you find the lack of structure led to laziness? Was the cut in pay more drastic than you had anticipated? And input you folks can offer would be helpful.
  • To counter, its that sort of thing that justifies the clause in the employment contract where anything you create, even "on your own time", still belongs to the company. If your creative mind while off the clock can still think about stuff belonging to the company, then anything else you think about also belongs to the company.

    A slave clause, surely, but that's their side of it...
    You know, you gotta get up real early if you want to get outta bed... (Groucho Marx)

  • I'm surprised my trollish post garnered a response (or was even read, given it's post #488!)

    My wife and I live in a modest condo in a small town. We own a ten-year-old car. Except for a mortgage, we owe *nothing* to anyone.

    Because we've made these lifestyle decisions -- ie. the decision to *not* purchase a $40k truck, a palatial house, or the other materialism-for-the-ego crap -- we are able to live on part-time incomes. *And* still save money for retirement at age 50. And go one four weeks of backpacking vacation every year.

    We've never worked a 60-hour week in our lives, and we're never going to. It's far more important to us to have a great relationship and time together, than to earn money so we can spend money.

    Those who focus on accumulation of money as quickly as possible, should consider a couple things. First, you could be dead tomorrow, which would rather moot your bank account. Second, if you train yourself to slave 60hr/week, you will never, ever be able to stop working: it'd kill you. Your entire life will be wasted slaving away for some boss-man.

    That's just sad.

  • So move to another town. Why choose to live where it's too expensive to have any other life but a worklife?

    Yes, if we popped out some kids, we'd need to work more. That'd be one of those lifestyle choices I'm talking about. We wouldn't need to work 60hr weeks, though!

    Take the late shift, if that's what floats your boat. I said nothing disparaging about working nights.

    My entire point was this: people need to wake up and make healthy lifestyle choices. If working 60hrs a week excites you, drives you forward, makes you *alive*, man, *alive!*, then by all means, go for it.

    But if those sorts of hours are a drag, if they're making you unhappy, if they're overwhelming -- for chrissakes, quit working so much! Make lifestyle choices that give you the ability to work in ways that makes you happy.

  • New-Age mantra my ass: there are many people living in your own "rapidly expanding town" who are living quite well without overworking themselves.

    If you're overworked, it is by *choice.* Have the guts to accept ownership of your *choice.*

    Anything else is just pansy-assed self-victimization.

  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:31PM (#247673) Homepage
    Life is too fucking short to screw around with bullshit like work.

    When it's time to die -- say, tomorrow, after the bus hits you -- are you gonna say "geez, I wish I'd put in an extra 10 hours last week"... or are you going to kick yourself for ignoring your wife and kids, because you were too damn greedy for the almighty-fucking-buck?

    Now, if you're truly in love with your work, and it's more of a thrill for you than any other aspect of your life, then by all means, work your ass off! You're one of the lucky few for whom work is the pinnacle of life.

    The rest of you: getaclue! You don't *NEED* to live an expensive lifestyle. You are *CHOOSING* to sacrifice the enjoyment of living for the greed of mere having. Downsize your life. Learn to live.

    Frankly, I think what many of you need is a near-death experience. It'll put a proper perspective on the value of life. Sixty-hour work weeks won't be high on the list of "musts"!

  • i'm a salaried programmer, so if i'm trying to meet a deadline, i work like crazy. 11-13 hour days, 7 days a week, until it's done. so around 80-90 hours a week.

    however, if i'm working on a slower/less important project, or if i'm doing design instead of actual code... it's more like 6-8 hours, 5 days a week, or 30-40 hours a week.

    it kinda sucks not getting paid for all that overtime, but i guess all the slacking off i do during the slow periods (e.g. reading slashdot :)) makes up for it.
  • I always wonder what people did to goof off before the internet. Anyone have any insights/stories? Did people goof off just as much, but in different ways? Or did we get more work done back then?
    One one job I had, we (me and my boss) would goof around simply by working on our respective projects. And very often in front of the company big-shots who were too clueless to notice. We'd also buy gadgets to play with, like a $80,000 laser printer (that was back when a 180 dpi laser printer did cost $80,000), or a $50,000 minicomputer to play blackjack or horserace simulations.

    At another, I had a quite interesting work schedule:

    10:30 Get in. Boot machines, fetch gossip.

    11:00 Boss gets in. Listen to all the problems of other cow-orkers.

    11:30 Help boss fix cow-orkers problems.

    12:00 Leave for lunch.

    13:00 Look around technical bookstores, or go sneak out/xerox books from the university library

    14:00 Look at an historical building or at gadgets in stores

    14:30 Get back to work. Listen to all the problems of other cow-orkers.

    15:00 With boss, fix cow-orkers problems.

    16:00 Cow-orkers leave. Start working

    20:00 Wrap-up things and go home.

    In the last 4 hours, we worked uninterrupted. That's how 2 guys were able to support 18 people in the whole company... (But my boss quit after I was there for a year. Wonder why...).


  • So how's life living with your mom and dad still?
  • I don't know, have you seen his mom? MIWNLF.
  • I'm not saying anyone needs a forty thousand dollar "SUV" (more like GasGuzzlingEgoMobile, GGEM). I don't live in a small town, in fact the city I live in has for the past five years been the fastest growing city in the county. Which means modest condos for low low discount prices don't exist here. Not everyone has the ability to live in part-time income. Have yourself a kid or two and see how old your car gets in the span of a week and how little money you find for yourself. Working a 60 hour work week is by no means a good idea for a family man but some people don't get a chance to work otherwise. Fuck man head off to Japan on one of your four week trips and head over to one of their corporate collectives where the people live and work for the corporation. The world works 24 hours a day now which means someone has to pull the late shift to get some money made.
  • I've met so many people like you that claim because they made a "lifestyle" choice that everyone else has the same oppertunity. It simply doesn't work the same way for everyone man. If everyone moved out of the big cities your rural shit town would have the population density of the area I grew up in. Don't go chanting New Age mantras claiming to be alive because you go backpacking. You're running the same fucking rat race as the rest of this fucked up country. You're just oblivious to it. Don't bother responding further though.
  • by Jethro73 ( 14686 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:42AM (#247691)
    Before, when I was working at a dot-com startup that I really cared about and got to wear ten different hats: 11-13 hours/day

    Now, after the lack of funding and falling victim of the overspending of the business folks above me, I am back in "corporate America". I sneak out after six hours and read /. all day.

    Please don't trace my IP and tell on me. 8^)

    How I miss the wild, carefree dot-com days. I didn't mind spending time at work, because it was fun... sigh...

  • by Raven667 ( 14867 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @05:48PM (#247692) Homepage

    I think the "When are you going to do something with yourself" crowd is the same as the "Look at the nice clothes on he Emperor" crowd. Subconsiously they are asking themselves "If he can live a happy, productive life without breaking his back at work, WTF am I doing?" Other people don't want to see a happy, well adjusted person working 20 hrs a week because it is a slap in the face, showing that they have chosen the wrong lifestyle and value system. Nobody likes to be wrong.

  • by griffjon ( 14945 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2001 @01:01PM (#247693) Homepage Journal
    I work ~40 hour weeks. Some more, few less. I work at a startup. I work as much now as I did during the 'boom'. I get more done in my 40 hours than a lot of people would get done in 80 hours when I'm fully engaged.

    I need balance in my life. Having weekends and evenings free lets me keep up with friends, keep my dancing up to spec, and generally have a life. My boss realizes this requirement, and all is cool.

    And you might notice that our startup still has funding...
  • In general I work 40 hour weeks. However this fuzzes a bit when you add in my self-training and comapny-funded training, which is another 2-10 hours a week depnding.

    I have pulled some pretty excessive timeframes before, but only for a limited time.
  • by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @01:38PM (#247710) Journal
    My typical work week:

    Day 1

    Sunday night, drive to Philadelphia Airport.
    Fly to San Francisco (5 1/2 hours)
    Catch flight to Portland Oregon (1 1/2 hours)
    Take shuttle to hotel, Sleeeeeeeepppppp

    Day 2

    Wake up 6:00 a.m. Do the three SSS's.
    Walk to client site by 7:30 a.m
    Work till 8:30 pm
    Check out town for a while

    Day 3

    Repeat Day 2

    Day 4

    Start off like Day two, leave work about 5pm
    Catch taxi to airport
    Fly to San Fran
    Fly to Philadelphia
    Sleep on those flights
    Arrive in philadelphia at 6:45 in the morning


    Have friday, saturday and sunday to be home

    Its a tough life, but someone has to do it! I get to learn, see the world and meet the most interesting and talented people in the world.

    Do i regret it? NO.

    Is it hard? YES

    I wouldn't do it the rest of my life, but since i'm only 24 i have nothing to loose and frankly sitting still is too boring, you just watch the world go by!

    I get paid great, i get bonuses, and i get billions of miles from Frequent Flyer programs and i have more free hotel stays then i know what to do with.

    But i get to take my friends to exotic places, i send family tickets to meet me at places, i give my parents hotel coupons for there vacations, and i keep in touch.

    Keeping in touch is what counts.. not how much you work for somebody, but how much you make your life YOURS no matter what situation you are in.

  • by RavenWolf ( 23378 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:15AM (#247712) Homepage
    Please, keep in touch, and give us your view on the subject after 7 years of marriage.
  • I've been married for 8 years and the best part of my day is the warm welcome I get from my wife and kids after work. Don't be so cynical.


  • Too late, I'm 36. See, finding a good job is a lot easier when you have a clue and brain. Try it sometime.
  • Whoops! Sorry Targetman, due to the filter I thought you were replying to me! Many apoloogies and just consider the reply to your post's parent.

  • Who's whining? Did you hear me complaining about turning down well over 6 figures (U.S.) a year because I don't want to consult? Furthermore, if my employer has a problem with the hours I want to work, he can either not hire me or pay me less! Why should it bother anyone who works with me or you, for that matter. That's between me and him, so mind your own business. Besides, I did the same thing when I was single. I am both productive enough and well-rounded enough to not need to or want to spend my life perfecting a phosphor tan for 80 hours a week. You or any other single person don't subsidize me for anything since I almost certainly pay more taxes than you anyway. Anyone who hires me knows my requirements up front, and still it only took me a week to find my current job.

    Entitlement indeed! Just because I am not some sorry tech industry loser who is enslaved to some dead-end job for all hours of the evenings and weekend is not your concern, unless of course you are jealous. There's more to life than work, and there are more useful things to be done than sit around and turn out code (even if few are more fun), so quit feeling sorry for yourself and make better use of your own time. I do.

    And lastly, my children are not brats. Their taxes will be paying for your sorry butt when you're collecting Social Security.
  • Yeah. It's not possible he just made a typo. That's almost as stupid as leaving the subject out of a sentence... something I'm sure _you'd_ never do.

  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:15PM (#247722) Homepage Journal
    My wife understands that _very_ well. But my kids have a hard time with that concept. :)


  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:35AM (#247723) Homepage Journal
    It's not just you. Furthermore, some of us even figured that out before the "bubble" happened.

    I've got a wife, 4 kids, and lots of hobbies, and while I enjoy work, I don't enjoy it more than the rest of my life. I left my last job in part because my peers were almost all single guys who thought little of 60 or 80 hour weeks (and the chaotic, poorly-managed environment made that necessary way too often) whereas if I'm as little as an hour or 2 late coming home, my kids are disappointed and my wife has to do extra work (feed the kids, get them ready for bed, reading stories, etc), so I place a high priority on a job which requires relatively few long days. Fortunately, I have found a place which doesn't (for a change) operate in perpetual crisis mode, with great pay no less. Also, the company has been around for several years and isn't walking a razor-edge of venture capital and market hiccups to stay in existence.


  • How do you determine what constitutes "work"? As Dilbert once said, "Here's my time sheet. You'll notice that it includes that half hour I wasted filling out the silly thing, but doesn't count the 15 minutes I spent designing our new product while in the shower this morning."

    So is work only about writing code? Or when you go home and lie in bed for 3 hours with visions of UML diagrams dancing in your head, does that count? Surely not as billable hours (wellll, for most of us :)), but is it something that you personally consider to be part of what constitutes your own workload?

  • by Van Halen ( 31671 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:06AM (#247731) Homepage Journal
    I was about to say the same thing. For most people, especially in technical fields, there's a difference between hours of work and hours of productive work. My friends and I agree that we generally put in about 3 or 4 hours (or less) of productive work a day on average. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Of course, when you're near a deadline, that number can easily jump up to 12 or more...

    The rest of the time is either spent doing real work at a more relaxed, lazy pace, or goofing off, surfing the web etc. Although I have to say that the majority of my web surfing from work is technology related, and occasionally something I found on the web a few months ago suddenly turns out to be relevant to my project at work. It's always nice to have those instances to justify goof off time. I save the non-technology web surfing (interpret however you like, probably not what you were thinking) for home.

    I always wonder what people did to goof off before the internet. Anyone have any insights/stories? Did people goof off just as much, but in different ways? Or did we get more work done back then?

    Getting back to the question posed in the article, I "work" 40 hours a week and not more unless overtime pay is preapproved - I value my life outside of work. Southern CA Software/System Engineer for an aerospace company. Posting this from work. ;-)

  • Because I'm a consultant, I always have to try to bill at least 40 hours a week. But i've noticed that some companies prefer you to bill more or bill exactly 40.

    Usually the larger the company, the more likely they are going to want a stock 40 hour week. in fact, some have moved to the 37.5 week. But these are usually non-IS houses.

    In the middle of the spectrum, you have the larger Internet companies that require at least 40, sometimes 50, sometimes 60. These are the established places that can sometimes be kind of hectic.

    Then on the far end, you have the startups. They *require* ten hour days, 7 days a week, with extra time for server outtages (which are frequent) so you end up billing a 85 hour week. which... kind of sucks. `8r/

    All just IMHO.

    Gonzo Granzeau

  • by Symbiosis ( 39537 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @06:28PM (#247737) Homepage
    There've been several studies on the affects of sleep deprivation. Lemme see what links I can dig up....

    This study [] (sorry, dead link, maybe you can find the right one) discusses the effects of sleep deprivation on short term memory loss. On the other hand, this one [] claims sleep deprivation increases activity in certain areas of the brain. And here's [] yet another story talking about the effects of sleep on brain development. And here's [] another article claiming naps could increase worker productivity. And, also, this article [] on the correlation between sleep and learning.

    (Sorry for all the Yahoo! News links, I was trying to find the first one, and I came across the latter articles)

    There was another study done in the U.K. which linked lack of sleep to a drop in I.Q. levels, but I can't seem to find the appropriate link...

    If you're curious as to what other people had to say, the slashdot articles on first two links are here [] and here [], respectively.

    I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.

  • Funny you mention crashing your car. Because studies do show - consistently - that a major cause of car accidents is driver inattention due to overtiredness. And while a certain lucky few hardly sleep at all, sleep deprivation can be fatal. Sleep deprivation is a softcore form of torture.

    So you are right in that there is much we don't know - we don't really even know what sleep is for - but we *do* know that too little of it is usually a Very Bad Thing.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • by Calimus ( 43046 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:41AM (#247740) Homepage
    As a Systems/Network Analyst in Georgia US, I work an average of about 45-55 hours durring a normal week. If it's a week that I'm on call it can be anywhere from 45-55 all the way to 70+ pending on what kind of problems occure (server crash/router failure/switch blows a blade). The hours arn't the real killer, it's something that has been covered here many times and thats the lack of pay for the extra hours. As a salaried worker, I see nothing past 40 hours in my paycheck :-(

  • I can tell you that when I get less than 7 hours per night I have a hard time remembering things, and I feel like a zombie. THAT is realistic.
    .e. []
  • Modern society also requires you to do a lot of work-related stuff that isn't really on the company's time. E.g., you have to get to work and back. 1) car 2) gas 3) parking 4) time 5) hassle. Also, you are more and more tethered by this wonderful communications technology. The same technology that allows you to get stock quotes on the latest .com burnout on the toilet allows your company to keep you on alert all the time and grab you when it wants.

    The less time you have the worse your health, the more you have to purchase other things like sitters, quick expensive fast food. For most of us, it's not so bad because a lot of us "geeks" are privelaged with a love of our work (we'd do this stuff even if it wasn't our day job). But there are tons of Americans that break their backs chasing a phony circa-50s dream.

  • If I'm not learning something and enjoying learning it, it's work.

    If I could have been spending the time trying to get Abby or Gloria or Nikky or Angel to go out on a date, but instead I'm having to clean up the system after someone with superluser privs horks it up, that's work.

  • None of them do a single thing with computers at all. Definitely not with the systems I hack on.

    If they did, though, I'm just screwed all around.

  • by devphil ( 51341 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:09PM (#247748) Homepage

    As an aside, my last programming boss told me when I signed on that if I was working a problem in my head during a 15-minute drive to work, then that was 15 billable minutes. Some managers do appreciate these questions.

    Anyhow, your experiences with Andersen sound like a conglomeration of Death March projects. I think /. did a book review of it last year, I don't recall. It's written by the same guy who predicted major doom and gloom for American coders right before the big positive wave, Edward Yourdon (sp?). _Death March_ is a really good book, however.

    The evil conslutant technique I feared the most was the crunch-time manager brought in to rescue a project who would create an artifical crisis as his way of seeing who would burn out "easily" and who could hack 80+ hours a week.

  • I "only" work around 45 hours per week, but some weeks this I work closer to 50. My biggest gripe is, paradoxically, my relative importance inside my company. For example, I took last Friday off for my birthday, and I ended up working about six hours on stuff that nobody else knows how to work on.

    I have not had a consecutive week off since 1995 (I was still a student, and was studying abroad). And, until my medium-sized company grows enough to hire and internal IT staff greater than two (me and the database guy, and neither of us know a damn thing about what the other does), I can count out more than a token day off here or there for the near future.

    If I get the same kind of review this year as I did last year (that would be "none"), you can count on Omar sending resumes out pronto.

    Every night and day,

  • From my personal experience, as well as observations of others, people always tend to overestimate their "average" hours per week. They'll(I'll :)) have a solid week of 10 hours per day, then spend the next month telling people they work 10 hours per day while they are actually pulling 7 or 8 ever since. People are bad at estimating quantities like this because they overemphasize the outliers.

    Also, they don't want to look lazy :)

    Then of course while people are "at work" they often "don't work", adding a further amount of useless variance.

    But for the sake of completeness, I'll respond. I work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, no holidays and I never get sick.

  • A couple of years ago, I was an intermediate-level programmer - not a guru, not a beginner, I had decent experience working for organizations and also as an independent contractor under my belt. I worked about 10 hours a day.

    Now I'm a senior programmer at the same place (a software consultancy). I'm assisting project managers (PMPs, for the most part - and I've learned that almost anyone can call themself a project manager, but very few can competently manage a project) and hope to become one myself in the next 2 years. I'm a subject expert for the technical staff on at least a couple of things. I work about 10 hours a day - but it's an entirely different 10 hours a day.

    I used to be able to program for ten, twelve hours at a stretch. It wasn't especially arduous - the focus was difficult, but as long as you have your tasks laid out in front of you and a good knowledge of what has to be done, it's doable.

    Now, when I reach eight-ten hours, I'm totally exhausted. A lot of the things I hit on now are new to me, they require a lot of effort to figure out, and they're almost always at the top of the priority pile. Most are high-risk engagements.

    Those /. readers who have moved through the ranks will understand the comparison - when you reach the top of the developer food chain, you're expected to bring down the big game as well. Those that haven't, well, you will.

    I think that my present ten hours a day are much more taxing than my old ten hours a day. But, if you want to reduce it to a very simple kind of measure, ten hours is ten hours.

  • by birder ( 61402 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:46AM (#247761) Homepage
    I wonder how much of those 9-10 hours were spent actually working. These are not the factory workers who are monitored quite well.

    How much time does a typical office worker spend on extra long coffee breaks, chatting with co-workers, surfing the web, talking on the phone to friends and family, going for an hour lunch when the union time is thirty minutes?

    And then at the end of the work day, they have to stay late because they are falling behind schedule.

    The worse part is that it normally affects other workers who get 'priority' work handed to them at 4pm when their boss should of had it to them much sooner.
  • "Cow-orkers" is in fact an intentional respelling of "co-workers", popularized by Scott Adams (the Dilbert cartoonist). Sorry to burst your bubble of happy typo-mocking.
  • Cool, I didn't know that.

    However, I covered my ass with the word "popularized", so I was still technically right. :)
  • I'd rather have dinner with my dog and play with my fiancee.

    I've found that my choices for a dinner entree are much more likely to be in line with those of my fiancee than my dog. The dog would much rather have kibble or a dead racoon than any variety of noodles. The dog and I do usually could agree on steaks, but like hell I'm sharing that with the dog. It's hard enough for me to share steaks with my fiancee.


  • by po_boy ( 69692 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:37AM (#247769) Homepage
    Now that I don't work for a .com startup, my hours are down from about 70-90 a week to about 35 a week. Programming for a living ain't half bad if you don't have to do it 70 hours a week.

    At first, I thought about looking for a second job to fill the extra time, but now I hardly notice it anymore.

    I've seen the same trend in a few of my friends as well in the last year or so.

  • by scoove ( 71173 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:44AM (#247771)

    1)we're more likely to work 9-5 (okay, maybe 9-6 but NO weekends)
    we're working 9-5 at our day job, while working 5-9 at our startup (and ssh'ing into it during the 9-5 whenever we can)

    2)we expect more compensation and but have a greater realization we're not going to be millionaires (no options for me, thanx, I'll take the cash)
    we're taking all the cash we can get out of our pathetic, underpaid current job, sitting with hundreds of thousands of upside-down options we'd be insane to exercise, while we fund our own thing

    3)we enjoy our work environment much less than we did before the bubble burst
    we're giddy about a worthless, unchallenging work environment during the day. it leaves our brains fresh for other things

    4)we continually update our resumes and have our eyes open about better opportunities
    and business plans...

    5)we take much more down time away from our work and from our computers now that we're burned out from the past few years and haven't seen the reward we deluded ourselves into believing we were going to receive.
    we've tossed out the palms, smart watches, and even locked up our kids gameboys because we can't stand the sight of another LCD. we spend our time instead rollerblading or *gasp* with people hanging out

    And who says geeks can't be social?

  • There's a difference between time spent at work, and time spent at work working. I mean, seriously, I spend probably 8 or 9 hours in the office every day, but when you take out time spent reading personal email, visiting online cartoons, reading Slashdot, The Register and however many other sites, does it really work out to be that much?

    People may claim to be spending far too much time in their offices, but is it because they're being overworked? Or because they have access to high speed net links and computers where they can procrastinate and still appear to be working?

    Personally, I'm a geek. I like having access to this stuff (Whenever I walk into the server room I have to resist the urge to say "Hey! Nice rack!"), so the fact that I spend a great deal of time in the office is not a problem for me.

  • Actually, your short-term memory goes away, too, among other things. After that, your cognitive skills go downhill, especially the parts dealing with complex judgemental issues. If I weren't so bloody lazy, I'd post a relevent link to some studies that I should be citing :-P
  • I recently moved to SF to work for an internet related company, and one of the things I noticed was the amount of time people spent in the office doing things unrelated to work. We have a pool table, a full kitchen, our HQ office has foosball, coffee/espresso... This means that people are encouraged to spend more time in the office, but they are not necessarily getting more done.

    I come from the automotive undustry where there is a good deal of inertia to get out of the office as quickly as possible. Meaning, most people would rather spend 30 minutes working (to get home sooner) than playing pool and staying at the office longer. When people say that they are working longer hours, I wonder if they are getting more done in each day/week/month.

  • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:38AM (#247782) Homepage
    but I'd be willing to believe that the majority of us follow this general model comparred to 2 yrs ago...

    1)we're more likely to work 9-5 (okay, maybe 9-6 but NO weekends)
    2)we expect more compensation and but have a greater realization we're not going to be millionaires (no options for me, thanx, I'll take the cash)
    3)we enjoy our work environment much less than we did before the bubble burst
    4)we continually update our resumes and have our eyes open about better opportunities
    5)we take much more down time away from our work and from our computers now that we're burned out from the past few years and haven't seen the reward we deluded ourselves into believing we were going to receive.
  • Yep, sleep depravation is real. Here's a quick test: Do you have to use an alarm clock to get up? If so, you didn't go to bed early enough. I never use an alarm clock unless I am varying from my routine. Like my son has an early soccer game on Saturday, when we usually sleep late.
  • I am salaried where I work as a "software engineer". Hours around here are pretty much flexible, getting your work done on time is the rule. On a slow week, I might come in around 10:30 and leave at 5pm. On a heavy week I would 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week. So my work week can range from 30 to 90 hours, depending on the workload. So I guess I average out to a 60 hour work week.
  • by Thomas Miconi ( 85282 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @12:44AM (#247789)
    This is just a side thought - does it surprise anyone that the most prosperous nation on earth has the hardest workers? Just an idea.

    If prosperity was directly related to hard working, Southeast Asia would rule the world.

    An Indonesian works up to 70 hours a week. A Frenchman works 35 hours a week (down from 39 hrs/wk until recently). Of course your definition of "propserity" may differ from mine, but I wouldn't call Indonesia more "prosperous" than France.

    Thomas Miconi
  • looks like you concur 200%.
  • by iso ( 87585 ) <`ofni.orezpraw' `ta' `hsals'> on Thursday May 03, 2001 @02:22PM (#247792) Homepage

    you're absolutely right, and i agree with you that your company doesn't care for you -- it's a business relationship. that's fine of course, but you have to realize that business is money, period, not friends or people you appreciate. that i agree with.

    i don't agree with you however, that you should just treat work as a "service." i think it's very important to try to enjoy what you do, at least to a certain extent. if you're putting in a big chunk of your waking hours into it (and by that i mean anything over 30 hours a week) you should be getting more than just money or you won't be happy in the long run. you don't have to love your job, but treating it as just a service isn't the way to look at it. we're people, not machines, and we need more than just money.

    let's face it, after you have enough to have a place to live and the necessities you require, everything after that is just gravy. it's better to please yourself than to acquire more cash. it'll keep you happy and make you think better of yourself and your life. as it's been said, how many people sit on their death bed and think "wow, i should've worked more overtime." :)

    - j

  • Really there are 2 kinds of work. Real work which generates some sort of profit for your company. And at work which is just being in the building.

    Most people (including myself) probably are only really usefull to the company a few of hours a week. The rest of the time you are reading email, surfing the web, and dealing with time wasting company burocreacy.

    Then there is also recorded hours vs actual hours. Recorded hours is what you put on your timesheet or project tracking system. Actual hours is how many hours you are actualy at work. The difference in these 2 times can be quite different.

  • This is just a side thought - does it surprise anyone that the most prosperous nation on earth has the hardest workers? Just an idea.

    How Calvinist of you.

    The US is the most prosperous nation on earth because we've got an abundance of natural resources, a growing population, and we're not afraid to exploit either one.

    The US is the most prosperous nation right now. We certainly weren't always so, and likely we won't always be. It's a matter of historical accident, not the fact that our workers are over-worked. Many studies have shown that productivity actually increases with shorter work-weeks. Diminishing returns.

  • I don't know what you're talking about. Getting married was the best thing that happened to me.

    Of course, I have a wife who understands that some days I just need 30-60 minutes alone after work to play a game, take a nap, or read a book or magazine. (No, I'm not saying you have a bad wife/husband - please don't take offense)

  • by shaper ( 88544 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:48PM (#247797) Homepage

    there are non-somniacs (sic) who can effortlessly go for weeks at a time without sleeping

    I think you mean very little or almost no sleep for weeks. One thing that we definitely do know is that going completely without sleep for much longer that 36 hours at a time produces symptoms in humans remarkably similar to schizophrenia. The human mind needs periodic shutdown/maintenance periods (sleep) far more that the rest of the body. And it has to be certain types of sleep for full effectiveness, most notably the infamous R.E.M. periods and dreams whether remembered or not that play a significant role in the mental housekeeping.

    If you are a person who can hit the important sleep states within 6 hours, then more power to you, but try staying awake past a couple of days straight and you will be one sick puppy.

  • by AJGriff ( 94198 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:38AM (#247806)
    This is something that I was really interested in a few years ago when I got the job I have now, and at the time I did quite a bit of research in to it. The research paid off and now I have a job that I love, that doesn't require me to be there 70 hours a week. Here's a few tips if you're looking to cut your workweek without cutting your paycheck:

    1. Stay away from big cities or technological 'hot-spots' like Silicon Valley, L.A., Redmond, etc. Even though the dot-com bubble has burst, there's still a lot of companies out there that get by with half has many people as they should have doing 3 times the work they should have. There's jobs in places like the midwest and south that will use and hone your talents just as well, and won't keep you in the office 60 hours a week.

    2. Go with a large company, owned by a big division, which is owned by a huge corporation. The more people in your IT department, the better Everyone has what they want to do and what they must do. Chances are, you're "must do's" are someone elses "want to do's", and vice versa. The more people, the better the work can be moved around so everyone is happy and working less hours.

    3. Take a good look at the company's IT people when you interview for a job. Talk to some of them and see what their disposition is. If they're overworked and burnt out, you will be too.

    4. Get a good feel for the "state" of the company's IT department during the interview process. Find out how up to date their technology is, and how well everything is set up. The more out-of-whack everything is, the more hours you'll spend fixing it.

    5. Finally, if you don't want to be at work 60 hours a week, find out why the position is open. If they're hiring 20 people to bolster the size the IT department, chances are there's enough work for 40 people to do. If they're just replacing someone who resigned, you're safe.

  • by Zaphod B ( 94313 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:05AM (#247807) Journal

    What an appropriate topic, coming after worker protests for May Day (Myezhdunarodnyj Dyen' Rabochikov, whatever...)

    As a consultant, I work usually 50-55 hours a week. However, it is in my best interest to work more because my compensation is based on how many hours I bill. It also varies widely - some weeks I have 70-90 hours of work, some weeks I have 15 hours of work

    This does not, of course, count the 45% of each minute spent pressing "Reload" on /.

    Many countries (the US included) have workers rights laws, just the US law is a bit wussy. French law, for example, guarantees a 35-hour workweek and five weeks of vacation per year. It is not, of course, as widely flouted as the US law, hence why it works. Of course, the entire northern two-thirds of France closes down during August, but them's the breaks when you have enforced laws like that.

    Zaphod B
    When duplication is outlawed, only outlaws will have /bin/cp

    Zaphod B
  • Well... we have no set work schedual.

    Its a university, and the standard workday is
    9-5 with a 1 hour lunch. We don't do that. We are sysadmins and the like - we are all over the map depending on what is going on.

    We shoot for the 35 hour work week, since its standard for the institution (and it provides us with time to have real lives outside of work - which IMNSHO is a very important thing)

    Sometimes we work more (sometimes some of us work alot more) when there is a real need. However, working much more than 35 hours/week as an average is just too much (40 isn't bad, ive done it at previous jobs).

    No time for leisure outside of work AND a full nights sleep (not that I always take advantage of it)? Im sorry, you just can't possibly pay me enough for that.

    I don't want my work to be my life. I LIKE leisure time. In fact, if you ask me, leisure time is a much more important factor of "quality of life" than high tech gadgets and lots of money (not that I don't have plenty of either - listening to mp3s on my pjbox as I type this, and waiting for 6 to roll around so I can hop on my motorcycle and ride)

    There is a great slogan among motorcyclist commuters (btw a bike is a great commuter vehicle - can carry a hell of alot more things than the average commuter needs every day, is smaller, faster, and more manuverable than a car) "Ride to work, work to ride".

    It doesn't just mean that you should ride the bike to work, its a reminder. There is a reason for working - so you can support yourself AND enjoy yourself. If you work so much that you can't ride (or do whatever else you may want), then whats the point?

    Whoever dies with the most money, still dies.

  • by FooGoo ( 98336 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:39AM (#247817)
    I am unemployed...two years ago I was unemployed....Why? I am a slackass and I read /. all day...would you like fries with that?
  • by SirWhoopass ( 108232 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:42AM (#247829)
    I work 40 hours a week. My contract says that I work 40 hours a week, I get paid for working 40 hours a week. I, therefore, work 40 hours a week.

    I know people who work 60+ hours a week. I even can think of one or two who get a lot done.

    For the most of them, however, they are just unorganized. They don't make efficient use of their time at work. They don't have any sort of plan to indicate what they hope to do and how it will be accomplished. They are in the office until 8 PM or later and wear it like some badge of honor.

    They can have that "honor" all to themselves. I rather like going home at 5 to have dinner with my fiancee, play with my dog, and whatever else seems interesting at the time. I doubt I'll be on my deathbed wishing I spent more time at this desk.

  • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:57PM (#247844) Homepage

    As for Calvinism, a funny little man named Max Weber advanced an argument along that line some years ago ...

    Of course, Weber was discussing the implications of the already existing "Calvinist" viewpoint, wasn't he?

  • by tylerh ( 137246 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:29PM (#247855)

    I've been married 9 years. My desire for work has gone down, my time at home has gone up. I am ALWAYS home by 6 pm. I walk my daughter to school at 8:30 am. I volunteer in her classroom. I never work weekends. Do the math for yourself. OH, I am USian.

    As another poster wrote, " You can love your job, but can your job love you back?"

  • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:36PM (#247870)
    The US is the most prosperous nation on earth because we've got an abundance of natural resources, a growing population, and we're not afraid to exploit either one.

    Sorry, but you're wrong on all counts. There are plenty of nations that have an abundance of natural resources--Russia, Brazil and Iraq, to name a few--that are not "prosperous." Conversely, there are also nations with few natural resources, like Great Britain, Japan (hence WWII) and Hong Kong (pre-1999) that are relatively prosperous.

    There are also nations with growing populations, such as India and Mexico, that aren't prosperous. So it can't be that. And every nation tries to exploit its resources for what it can get. Japanese fisheries. Romanian gold miners. Brazilian loggers. Zambian copper miners. Take your pick. The US doesn't have a monolopy on exploiting their own resources.

    The US is the most prosperous nation right now. We certainly weren't always so, and likely we won't always be. It's a matter of historical accident, not the fact that our workers are over-worked.

    There's no such thing as a historical accident. History just is. There are no particular "accidental reasons" for how events have unfolded over the course of time. Don't minimize the importance of small factors hundreds and thousands of years ago that influenced where our planet is at today.


  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:54AM (#247874) Homepage

    (Slightly offtopic)
    It doesn't surprise me that Americans work more hours then any other industrialized nations. Or that, as an addendum to this, that the majority of Americans are probably sleep deprived.

    It seems to be that many Americans, even those in the medical field, don't realize how serious sleep deprivation is. Do you think that we, as a society, would think that about half of our citizens going hungry most of the time would be acceptable? Probably not. Yet when that many Americans lose sleep regularly, no one sees it as a bad thing.

    Take this for example: a college junior goes around bragging to her friends and family about how she hasn't eaten anything but water and carrots for the past two weeks. Would people think this was a sign of maschismo? Or would they think this was a person who was endagering themselves, and needed medical attention? Now, take the same college junior and say that she has been going around bragging about how she has been pulling all nighters and has averaged 4 hours of sleep for the past two weeks. For a lot of people, this would be a normal sign of collegeiate bravado.

    The point of all of this is, is that many people, including doctors (who have to go through their own intiatory period of losing sleep, but that is another subject) don't seem to realize that a wealthy society where the majority of the people don't sleep enoug is just as ludicrous as an industrial society where people don't eat enough.

  • I have formed a value system that actually considers the impact on the quality of life and tries to balance it with the need to become a multi-millionaire by 30. It's hard to maintain these values in the face of dotcommers speeding by me on the freeway in their jags with bleach-blonde babes at their side, but I figure it all balances out in the karmic universe. I get to drive my Yugo home every night. The prevailing attitude of engineers around here that we are expected to put in our 42 hours (in fact, we were told that it is expected of us - hey, I only signed up for 40) each week, and it's some sort of badge of honor to say that you have already put in 60 hours by Wednesday infuriates me, frankly. What sort of mass self-hypnosis have you bought into? What a stupid, unenlightened, lemming mentality! Now, I have never said that you shouldn't be allowed to work however long you want, and I have been known to stay until 1am if I am enjoying myself (I love debugging my code, go figure), but this work ethic only serves the corporation, and not the individual.

    In my business we analyze rocket trajectories. I asked my boss the other night, over beers after softball "How many trajectorites could you analyze in a workday, twenty years ago?" He told me "We used to be able to do 3 kilofeet in a day (about 1/30th of a flight)!" So I told him "Well, I can do 200 trajectories in an hour, can I have the rest of the week off now?" hah, hah, hah...

    Seriously, though, I often marvel at the thought that all this automation, which presumably was supposed to free us all, has actually enslaved us, as we serve the machines we create, day in and day out.

    So, please don't brag at how many hours you unwillingly have to slave over your keyboard. All I can think of is "what an idiot."

    As a final note, I can only attribute this to the ills of capitalism that we should all understand by now. Remind yourself that the capitalists now have control of the schools, and that they are training you to be net slaves. If you don't fight the power today ("I'm a human being!" versus "If you don't work 80 hours, we'll find someone who will."), you have only yourself to blame, guys.

  • by glebite ( 206150 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @10:42AM (#247913)

    I live in Canada - I typically work 50 hour weeks... I found a good 10 hour day beats out some of the fools who try to do 18 hour stints every other day. They look run-down, burned-out, and at generally, have made critical mistakes because of their fatigue. On a few occasions, a breakthrough has happened, but usually the code had to be reworked again to clean up really ugly hacks.

    And to be honest, although I used to do some of those 18 hour stints, I listened to an older co-worker who asked, "So how productive are you now after working 18 hours?" I answered, "Not really I guess - stuck on a stupid problem." His response was simple and clear: "Go home!"

    I did, got plenty of sleep, found a decent balance between work, sleep, homelife, hobbies, reading slashdot, and I found 10 hours to be great.

    I take a .5 hr walk at now noon to really clear the cobwebs out of my head...

  • by mborland ( 209597 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:41AM (#247918)
    Kudos! I agree with you. Most people who work long hours are simply trying to martyr themselves, whether they know it or not.

    Play with your dog, have dinner with your fiancee. Don't get led by the $$$ carrot.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @02:22PM (#247922) Homepage
    Actually, you're wrong. A freelance writer is not the same as an unemployed writer. In fact, I have a number long-term of contracts to produce X in return for advance Y.

    The difference between "freelance" writer and "staff" writer is that as a freelancer, my contract can be dismissed at any time, for any reason, and I don't get health insurance, retirement plans, etc. -- all that stuff I have to pay for on my own. My income gets reported on form 1099 (misc income, royalty, advance) and not on form W2 (wages) and no taxes are withheld; I have to pay taxes myself.

    But please don't make the same accusation I just asked people not to make by assuming that just because I put "self employed" on my IRS forms I'm some kind of sociopath or vagrant. Really, you've just made my point for me again. Anyway, have you seen how much IRS "self employment" tax is? It's not pretty.
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @12:28PM (#247923) Homepage
    I think you're absolutely right; working long hours and spending money on useless consumer items is probably the most clear expression of Americanism that I can think of. It's a value system I personally hate, mainly because I feel the compelling need to exist outside of any possesions I own or job I perform.

    But (and here's the point of my post) it's going to take a lot to change this. I know first hand that people aren't at all tolerant of those who have succeeded in not working a 40-hour week. I am a freelance writer. I make enough to live. I became a freelance writer specifically because I was tired of working long hours at a job that I felt was taking over -- that was becoming somehow enmeshed with my identity. I didn't want that.

    But even though I make enough to live, I have become a social problem for many people. I have had a number of relationships end almost entirely because I wasn't "trying hard enough to be successful" and members of my family continually call to badger me about when I'm going to "do something with my life" and why I'm not "working harder to make something of" myself.

    Credit agencies and businesses of all kinds -- sometimes even for little things -- don't want to sign contracts with me because as far as they're concerned, not working 40 hours PLUS is synonymous with "irresponsible" and therefore dangerous in any financial sense.

    Put simply, there is no tolerance right now in American culture, not just in the technology industry, for anyone who feels satisfied to live outside of consumerism. Only lazy bums feed the ducks in the park... the responsible people would never be caught doing anything so worthless.

    So please -- before you mod this down as trolling or flamebait, at least stop a moment and consider putting a little less pressure on yourself and (especially) on your family members and loved ones to buy things, earn money, get advancements, etc. After all, this is not a real-time strategy simulation! This is LIFE and it's the only one you've got!
  • by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @01:03PM (#247940) Homepage

    i work zero hours per week... i've been laid off. thanks, new economy!

  • by V50 ( 248015 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:06AM (#247965) Journal

    Well I work about 4 hours a week for about $20 Canadian a week delevering Snail-Spam.. The Lake Shore Shopper... Though I guess I wouldn't exectly count as I'm 13....

    Thinking about that though I'm pretty sure the average Slashdot reader spends most of his time doing Boring-School-Work for No-Pay. Though I'm homeschooled so I get-to learn Perl but also for no pay :-(. But anyways if you counted school I'm guessing the Average Slashdot Reader would be something like: 30-40 Hours a week, depending on homework, for no-pay. If you ad in a job on the side possibly 35-50 Hours a week for $10-30...

    Thinking of it that way, being a 13 year old geek must suck... You must work alot and get no-time for Learning Perl or anything... Glad I'm home schooled...


  • by jeff13 ( 255285 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @11:06AM (#247971) Homepage

    Here in fascist Harrisland (Used to be called Ontario), there is a 60 hour work week Bill to be legislated. Note that here in Harrisland, laws are simply passed without argument. Really (Americans get to vote on these municipal things... you're SO lucky).
    Here's a little future for America to worry about. It's happening here thanks to NAFTA, etc. So beware!
    By Judy Rebick (yea, Judy Rebick! What's wrong with her?)
    Ontario Premier Mike Harris is giving Ontario employers a great big Christmas present by ramming through third reading of a bill that turns Ontario labour standards back two generations.

    Bill 147 permits a 60-hour work week. Even worse, it allows for the averaging of overtime over four weeks. An employer does not have to pay overtime if the average work week over four weeks is 44 hours. In other words, someone could work 60 hours this week, 55 hours the week after and then 30 hours for the next two weeks and receive no overtime pay.

    Since the Second World War the maximum work week in Ontario has been 48 hours, with overtime pay after 44 hours. There were lots of exemptions but at least there was a formal process and a tough requirement for overtime.

    The rest is on the CBC site. 001220.html
  • by UltraBot2K1 ( 320256 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @01:23PM (#248005) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. Most people think of flipping burgers when they hear I'm paid hourly instead of salaried, but from my prospective hourly's the way to go. I can work a *very* small number of hours and still bring home enough money to support my family. Not only that, but I actually get to spend time with my family. When I see executives and stressed out programmers or admins who are making $100k or more, I always wonder what they need all that money for since they don't have any time to do anything with it.
  • by undecidable ( 410548 ) on Thursday May 03, 2001 @04:38PM (#248017)

    I rather like going home at 5 to have dinner with my fiancee, play with my dog
    I'd rather have dinner with my dog and play with my fiancee.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!