Re: Average Hours Worked

Subject: Re: Average Hours Worked
From: surfer924 -at- ameritech -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 5:40:10

My average as a technical writer in software is a 40-hour week. Despite
claims to the contrary, that seems to be the norm for my peers in this

After working for over 20 years in both government and the corporate world
at both ends of the spectrum (security guard and middle management), I have
always been, and continue to be somewhat suspicious of those who claim to
work 16-hour days and 80-hour weeks. I can remember working my way through
college as a security guard nights and weekends at a large Dilbert-like
facility. Many of the full-time employees would stay well past 8 pm and
would come in on weekends. Funny, as I made my rounds through the hallways
I could see them at their desks playing solitaire, reading the paper, etc.

I can remember bosses who routinely claimed to work 50-60 hour weeks and
wonder why, now that I was in "management", I didn't do the same. These
were the same bosses who took 2-hour lunches and played golf every Thursday
afternoon. Did they count that as work?

I can remember working for the government and working weekends to prepare
for an inspection. The "working" consisted of coming in on Saturday, and
having coffee and donuts and talking about the upcoming inspection,
something we could just as easily have done during the week. I suspected
that coming in on the weekend had more to do with being able to say we
"worked all weekend to get ready" than anything else.

I once knew a lawyer who routinely bragged about his 80-hour weeks, and the
fact that he made $80,000. a year. At the time, I was working 40 hours a
week and making $40,800. a year. The only difference I could see was that
my kids knew who I was when I came in the door.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem working long hours - when there is
work to be done. I have worked until midnight several nights in a row to
get a project in on time. I once worked for 28 straight hours, took 6 hours
off, and went back to work. Sometimes that's just the nature of work. I've
also left at 3:30 several days in a row. That's the other side.

One of the best bosses I ever had was fond of saying "If you can't get it
all done in 8 hours, you either have too much to do, or you don't know how
to manage your time."


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