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Old 02-13-2018, 10:40 AM
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Default How many hours is too many?

I know that's kind of a silly question, but it's one I'm pondering a lot now.

We all have our long weeks. That comes with the territory. But my job is constantly a lot of hours, and I can truly never catch up. Things we've been promising for months just haven't happened, because we've had to focus on the problem of the day.

The last guy to hold my job is now leaving the company due to the stress. He doesn't even have another job lined up, that's how burnt out he is. Folks are wondering if I'll leave. I wouldn't want to give up the stock options I've amassed, so if I were to do anything, I'd probably post for another position in the company.

Then again, I start to feel like a whiner. Other folks (especially non-actuaries) work these kinds of hours all the time. To them, that's just life. But when I work these hours, week after week, month after month, I just feel drained.

I could take demotion, and I think that might help. But I'm not sure. It seems that more and more, my company's expectation is that everybody is supposed to work that hard, regardless of level, and if you're not willing to, we'll find somebody who is.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:46 AM
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My thoughts are that it's not worth it to me. I'd rather spend more time with my family then make an extra $10k-$30k. That's probably because my kids are small. When they are bigger (and I'm not studying for exams), I expect I'll work more than 40 hours a week.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:50 AM
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In my opinion, if the number of hours you're working each day/week is giving you a large amount of stress for an extended period of time and the salary you're getting isn't giving you the emotional justification then I'd say you're working too many hours.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:51 AM
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anything over 40 is too much imo. i accepted the position assuming i'm getting an hourly wage of salary/52/40 and if you're expecting me to work unpaid overtime i'm basically losing money. the one time i had a job where that was expected of me i bounced within a year.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:51 AM
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Anything more than 37.5 per week is too much.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:58 AM
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anything more than 20 ppd imo
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:03 AM
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Egghead View Post
Other folks (especially non-actuaries) work these kinds of hours all the time. To them, that's just life.
do they? i think it varies with them too and i'm guessing they also are unhappy about it.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:04 AM
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I've had jobs where I worked a lot more than 40/week. Have had jobs where it was a lot less. I'd basically call my current job a part-time position. For me, I wouldn't say that there was high correlation between overall life happiness and number of hours worked. I definitely had one job where I would get down to 40 hours/week occasionally, probably 50+ was average and was very happy with work and with my life overall.

Reasons to be ok with working a lot IME:
  • The overall rewards (financial, development, networking, etc) are worth it
  • It's an expectation of the job, which was (at least somewhat) clear when you took the job
  • The people you're working with/for are similarly working hard and you're just doing your "fair share"
  • Of course, most jobs have the occasional emergency or whatever where you work a lot for a few weeks


Doesn't sound like the first one applies for the OP, so time to make a change IMO. If you have stock options and everybody else is working like that, that's a sign that the company culture is just going to expect that - do you really think a demotion or transfer would change things? Stock options are usually something sweatshops throw at you to pay for the sweat.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SlowMotionWalter View Post
Anything more than 37.5 per week is too much.
I agree.

I'd say an average of 7.5 hours a day for every weekday (so 37.5 a week) is my limit for sanity. After reflecting holidays and vacation time, that averages out to a little less than 8.5 hours a day for every working day (let's call it 42 hours a week when there's no vacation/holiday).

Now, I have weeks in busy season that top 60 hours (I've had 75 twice in my career), but those are in aggregate balanced by quiet season and weeks where I work 25 hours and take a non-vacation day off.

I had a tough year last year, and averaged 40 hours a week (ignoring holiday/vacation), but I expect my bonus to make the time worthwhile.
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