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While I think the perception that "if you're not working overtime, you're
not working hard enough," or even worse, "if you're not working overtime,
you're not really working," is truly unhealthy and far too prevalent in the
workplace of today, I do work overtime, and I see myself in many of the
responses to this thread.
Do I routinely work 60-hour weeks? Absolutely not. Do I put in the hours
necessary to get the job done? Always. Part of that is being a
perfectionist; part of it is pride in my work; part of it is dedication to
my company; and part of it is indeed due to monetary incentives like stock
options -- knowing that if the company profits, I ultimately profit, and not
just in the satisfaction of a job well done (even as alluring as that truly
is to me).
Our company is young, and lots of people put in lots of hours. And there is
certainly the perception afoot that some people are more dedicated to their
jobs, to the company, to the product, than others. And those people are
often the ones who are around here long hours. But how you use your worktime
is just as important. As I said, I don't usually work 60-hour weeks, but I'm
available in a crisis, I'm perceived as a solid and dependable team player
(I think!), and while I *am* in the office I'm jammin' and getting my work
done. If I choose to have a water cooler conversation, I know that decision
will have an impact on my schedule that day. If I spend half an hour talking
to a buddy at work, or having a personal conversation, that's half an hour
I'll put in somewhere else. It's not fear that motivates me, it's a feeling
of responsibility and fair play.
Anyway, that's my take on the overtime motivation question. I do agree that
consistent, large amounts of overtime on the part of at least 80% of any
staff is indicative of management (and time management or proper staffing)
problems. But there are always times when you have to go the extra mile. If
you are consistently the only one doing it, that's a problem and you are
most likely getting used. If you're part of a team and an organization that
values employees' personal time but also expects dedication and quality
work, then I think most people are willing to put in some extra time. If
you're not rewarded in terms of stock options, time off, bonuses, etc., you
are often rewarded by a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Just my opinions, with no claim that they are definitive.
Catheryn Mason, Technical Writer
cmason -at- infinitec-com -dot- com
Winner, 1999 IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence for Technical Writing