I seem to have had a number of conversations about this recently. The way many jobs are going these days is stretching far beyond the original 40-hour work week concept. I just had a chat with a neighbor of mine yesterday and he was saying how his wife (who just retired a couple weeks ago) had been working 10-14 hour days, 7 days a week at IBM. That is beyond ridiculous. He said he never got to spend any time with her, and when he did, it was not much more than sitting in proximity to her while she had her laptop out doing work.
These days it seems it’s all about making more and more money, and I don’t see the desire for more and more ever stopping. Therefore, the need to work more and more must increase as well. Parents are being more and more disconnected from their children, and husbands are being more disconnected from their wives. The concept of family is being changed because time spent together is becoming less and less.
The company that I work for has a weekly thing where they honor a couple people for doing good work. I think that’s a good thing. However, very often the people getting recognized are the people who are working way over 40 hours, working until 3am, etc. It’s becoming less of doing quality work, and more about who does the most time. I think it’s ok to do that every once in a while, but it’s far too common. Especially for those who are salaried, the people putting in 70 hours a week are making the same as those doing 40. That really blurs the concept of work expectations.
I will not be a part of the trend of being overworked in a job. I want to be a good father and a good husband. I don’t want to blink one day and open my eyes to find myself saying goodbye as my sons are heading off to college. I would much rather make less money and be able to be an active father and husband than to make a bunch of money and always be too busy/tired/stressed for my family. Fortunately, at my current job I am able to work only 40 hours most of the time. At that rate, I’m not going to be receiving any recognition from my company, but that’s ok. An “I love you dad” is far more meaningful than a quickly passing recognition one week and a small gift certificate to Starbucks.