As a salaried employee, I refuse to work more than 40 hours per week unless there is a very exceptional circumstance to account for it.
Whether employers like it or not, my annual salary translates to a dollar-per-hour figure for me, and I am not interested in diluting my income to help out with their poor planning.
Also, my life -- which includes a wife and three kids -- is far, far more important than putting more dollars in their pockets, especially when it is at the expense of my own pocket.
Interesting. What's your role? – JBRWilkinson Oct 26 '10 at 17:52
I am a Senior Software Engineer. I perform major customization of and create new functionality for a Windows Desktop application that is used by state governments. I have had many jobs in many companies in two states (two of the most significant ones for technology), and since I was 30 years old, I have refused to work overtime as a usual practice. Software engineering is not indentured servitude. – Adam Crossland Oct 26 '10 at 17:59
Adam: Playing devil's advocate for a second. It's not indentured servitude, but it is a job. Since it's salaried, you've presumably signed papers exempting yourself from labor laws that entitle you to overtime and the like. Just like you can refuse overtime, they can demand it. I have no reason to assume that you're anything but top-notch, but I wouldn't want to be searching for a job in this market if I played chicken and flinched first. Unemployment tends to bleed over into one's life a little bit, no? – John Oct 26 '10 at 21:26
"A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part." I have been on both sides of this one, and have pulled the monster hours on occasion. I think there is a bit of an escape valve in Adam's statement that in certain circumstances he will go more than the standard forty hours. I have asked people to do so when we've hit unexpected issues but I strove to make it an unusual experience. I have also been at places that expected me to pull 50+ hours as a mater of course. There is a balance to be struck, I believe, as much by management as by the developer. – Todd Williamson Oct 26 '10 at 21:47
I don't "refuse" to work longer - I just found a company that doesn't push me to (in Aus). Sometimes if I'm really into the work I'll do an extra ~5hrs/week. Sometimes I remote in from home because there's something in my head I have to get out. But that's my choice – Ben Hughes Oct 26 '10 at 22:10
As @Todd noted, I did say that I will work overtime as an exceptional circumstance. If there is an emergency of some kind, even if it was caused by some act of blatant incompetence on someone else's part, I will pitch in to get the problem solved. However, if crunch-time is the norm rather than the exception, i will have no part of it. And I'll be glad to move on. – Adam Crossland Oct 26 '10 at 22:55
+1 - A number of employers will be happy to take in your extra hours at no cost to them, but will make sure to meticulously take any of your extra days off out of your vacation days. Sheesh. – Jas Oct 27 '10 at 0:09
@John, when you entered the job you and the employer agreed to 40 hours a week. Shouldn't that be the norm then? – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Oct 27 '10 at 6:09
@John at CashCommons, if you're THAT far away from the 40-hour week that you think it's do-or-die on the overtime, then... don't stop cold turkey. Scale management back little by little. Management has MANY objectives and some of them are conflicting. Your objectives are quite straightforward: to start working less hours, and to continue kicking ass at your job. Try skipping ONE session of overtime with NO excuse ("I have to get home, unfortunately," for instance) per week. When they're ready (when it's become normal), give 'em more (I mean, less :)) Don't convince others to do this, though! – Yar Oct 27 '10 at 6:42
@John, you don't have to sign papers. Federal law says that in the absense of a union contract to the contrary, programmers/software developers are de jure exempt from overtime: codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/29/8/213 (see A 17). – Tangurena Oct 27 '10 at 17:56
+1. I'm on contract, max 40 hours per week chargeable. That's all I do. If they want me to work longer hours, fine - but if they ever started doing that on a regular basis, they're very likely to find that I don't renew the contract. – Jeffrey Kemp Oct 28 '10 at 1:51
It seems to be a thing that happens as you get a little older- you realise that there is a lot more important stuff to life than your job and that the more time you spend at work the less time you have for the important things. My contract has a number of hours on it. My aim is to honour that absolutely, but not to go beyond it so if I spend more over a few weeks I'll cut back a little subsequently. The important things are that the work gets done and that life gets enjoyed. – glenatron Oct 28 '10 at 9:59
+1 - I have more or less the same opinion. I even stated it during my job interviews. I am gainfully employed. It has been suggested many times that the team I work should be working overtime (uncompensated of course...) as the norm and each it it is more or less laughed at. With that said, I average 40-45 hours a week. I will do what it takes to make sure the company I work for benefits from my employment but at the same time work is NOT my life. :) – Tony Oct 28 '10 at 12:13
There are a few more, but they really are noise.