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  • #2237244

    Do we work too much in the US?


    by av . ·

    After reading this article and looking at the chart, I started thinking about the quality of life for US workers. The chart is based on 10 years of tenure. Most US workers don’t stay at a job that long so they have alot less time off.

    I was surprised to learn that there are no federal laws in the US mandating that companies pay employees for time off or that they grant them a minimum amount of vacation days unpaid.

    I can’t remember any company I ever worked for saying “take 2 weeks off” like they do in Europe. I’m lucky if I can get 1 week of peace in the IT field. As it is, I have to check emails. What kind of time off is that? In my 20+ years in IT I have never taken 2 weeks off at once. How sad is that?

    Do you think all of this work has paid off for you? Is it worth it? PS – O, Canada! You’re worse than the US.


All Comments

  • Author
    • #2615794

      Australia – It gets better – ever heard of an RDO ?

      by drowningnotwaving ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      It’s a “Rostered day off”. Union award win – particularly in large banks and many government departments.

      It’s the day off you need to be able to schedule your hair-cut, shopping, doctors appointments etc.

      One per month (although in most places they don’t accumulate. Use it or lose it.

      Of course, if you can’t actually make it to the doctor on that date, don’t sweat it: you have between 8 and 15 days medical leave per year.

      { Now, in my case, working for a ‘small company’ (that the government defines as 99 people or less), no such thing occurs. It’s only something I effectively have to pay for at all my banks and government agencies. }

      Add to that the unofficial times off: half-a-day for Melbourne Cup. Half a day on Xmas Eve. Most long weekends – finish work at 2pm.

      It’s a nice place to work.

      • #2615789

        You’re kidding

        by av . ·

        In reply to Australia – It gets better – ever heard of an RDO ?

        You have a RDO or one day per month for miscellaneous appointments? Damn! I’m living in the wrong country.

        You know what I have to do to take time off for a doctor’s appointment? I have to go in late to work and stay late to make up for lost time. Medical leave is akin to sick time here, but you have to be really sick to get them to pay for it. Just a doctor’s appointment doesn’t count.

        We do get out at 3pm on some long holiday weekends, but some companies make you work the full day. Last year, I had to work on the official New Years day, Monday, January 2nd, because of how the holiday fell unless I took it as a vacation day. I went to work and did absolutely nothing, as did my co-workers. Everyone was really angry because most places were closed.

        We could never even dream of a half-a-day off for an event like the Melbourne Cup here in the US.


        • #2615784

          Oh by the way – I forgot Long Service Leave

          by drowningnotwaving ·

          In reply to You’re kidding

          LSL is 3 months fully-paid vacation for 10 year’s continuous employment.

          It accumulates from day 1, but is not usually required to be paid out for under 5 years.

          That is, work less than 5 years – get nothing on termination. Work more than five years and (usually) you’ll get some proportion of the accumulated long service leave paid to you upon termination.

          WHAT’S EVEN BETTER : Some international companies (most notably IBM, certainly up to the year 1999, although I cannot confirm since), will recognise the previous experience of overseas internal transfers.

          So, for example, work in IBM Idaho for 8 years, get a transfer to Oz and work a further two years, and get 3 month’s vacation fully paid.

          It’s just great, eh?

          Oh, and most companies will negotiate pro-rata payment up to 6 or 12 months. That is, take 12 months leave on 25% monthly salary. Get another moonlighting job. Have a great year.

          EDIT: Oh, and by the way, in year 10 – you still get your four week’s vacation. Overall four months fully paid.

        • #2616467


          by av . ·

          In reply to Oh by the way – I forgot Long Service Leave

          That can’t be true. A 3 month vacation after 10 years of employment under LSL? What happens to your job – I mean – who covers for you during that time? If I left my job for 3 months, I can’t imagine what it would look like when I went back.


        • #2616318
          Avatar photo

          The Reality is Nothing

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Wow

          In every Job that I’ve ever done I have always been paid out for my Holiday Time because I can never take the Time Off. At one place I was offered to either have a very long holiday of 8 months as I had not had a holiday in the 8 years that I worked there or be paid out as a new company was buying the business so all leave had to be finished off and paid for before the transaction could be completed. Of course our Entitlements stayed put just any remaining Holiday Time was removed.

          Now I really wanted a break but I was offered an If or them option and I certainly couldn’t have been absent for 8 months as I had made no arrangements to cover my work during my absence so I just took the money. 2 years latter when I had my LSL accrued I just sat on that as well and the longer that I was there the more time off I was owed. When I eventually left that place I walked out with the money again.

          But it depends on the company as many get rid of workers before that reach the 10 year limit and while this remains with Government and Management there are very few other places that worry about LSL.


        • #2634007

          Yes and no …

          by drowningnotwaving ·

          In reply to The Reality is Nothing

          Yes, Col, in the majority of cases most people take it in much smaller lots over time (for example, an extra 2 or 3 weeks vacation per year) or they leave it ‘in the bank’, so to speak, and cash it out when they leave employment.

          But I do know a number of people who have taken it and enjoyed it, as i am sure you do.

          Re your statement:

          [i]many get rid of workers before that reach the 10 year limit[/i]

          I’d be interested to see any articles or discussion on this. I’ve known a lot of people in a lot of companies and have, in 25 years employment, never heard of or seen this (with the exception of the once-per-five-years sensationalised story on the tabloid media).

          Your right to LSL entitlements is actually covered in legislation, once you hit the five year mark. Sacking someone at 8 or 9 years wouldn’t actually save much money (unless, of course, the company plays upon the general ignorance of the employee to claim what is rightfully owed – and I’ll agree that happens lots of times).

        • #2615370

          I am in awe

          by av . ·

          In reply to The Reality is Nothing

          I can’t believe how different companies in other countries treat their workers. It seems to me that all I ever hear about in the US is the sweat shops in China and other cheap labor countries, but never about countries that have it better than us. Probably because it makes the US look bad.


      • #2616308

        You should be able to

        by tonythetiger ·

        In reply to Australia – It gets better – ever heard of an RDO ?

        get your hair cut on company time… After all, it [b]grows[/b] on company time 🙂

        • #2634016

          You’ve not seen my head

          by drowningnotwaving ·

          In reply to You should be able to

          … and that is just another fortunate side effect of the internet-sans-cameras.

        • #2615390

          Good point, Tony

          by av . ·

          In reply to You should be able to

          I’ll have to bring that up at my next management meeting. Then I think I better update my resume.

          AV :^0

        • #2615317

          But that would penalise jdclyde

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to You should be able to

          who doesn’t have any hair!


        • #2615265

          Sure I do Neil! B-)

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to But that would penalise jdclyde

          Of course it is on my back…… :0

          [i]go ahead, enjoy that visual….. 😀

        • #2615256

          The Friday I ate my lunch twice

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to Sure I do Neil! B-)

          I have a vivid imagination!


        • #2615245


          by maecuff ·

          In reply to The Friday I ate my lunch twice

          You’re both just gross..

          back hair and puke. My two favorite things.

        • #2615234

          especially when

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to Well..

          they’re down the same plug’ole….


        • #2615226

          Face DOWN!

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to Well..

          OhMyGOD! [b]Back[/b] hair isn’t a problem. My image was of jd FACE UP! :8}

        • #2614545

          Face up, Neil….??

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to Well..

          well, yeah, but it shouldn’t have bothered you that much……………..

          unless you were that intent on playing hoop-la…..


          Sorry. CouldnelpititsFridayagainsorryitishasstruck

        • #2614539

          Don’t hate me for my outer beauty

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Well..


          Ok, why isn’t Mae asking Neil why he is imagining me in ANY position???? :0

        • #2614537

          Either way, Neil..

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Well..

          it just sounds wrong. Best to just let this one go.

        • #2614514


          by shellbot ·

          In reply to Well..

          thats just ICK…i just devoured a huge peice of choclate cake and now i feel quesy after reading that..
          dang it!

          back hair..not my thing..
          ever hear of “back, crack and sack” guys??

          we shave everywhere..why can’t you ?? ]:)

        • #2614403

          ?:| Well…

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Well..

          That one went south Quick now didn’t it? :0 -d

        • #2604952

          That exposes a different problem.

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to But that would penalise jdclyde

          A lot of people think society should try to make everyone absolutely equal in every way. These people probably use a spreadsheet during the holiday shopping season to make sure all the kids get the exact same amount spent on them.

          It would be like if a grocer had peanuts on sale, he would have to offer an alternative item on sale for people who are allergic to

          Something else I notice. Many people are almost insanely jealous of what someone else has or gets. They don’t realize that the time they spend brooding and bitching about it is better spent getting out and getting their own! If a friend of theirs hit the lottery, they’d grumble “Lucky Bastard!” under their breath while holding their hand out.

    • #2615767

      Conspicuously absent from the list: China

      by techexec2 ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      I noticed that China is conspicuously absent from the list. Not sure what that means.

      Also: What’s up with Philippines and Thailand (5 and 6 days respectively after 10 years tenure)?

      My experience and observations match yours when it comes to how IT worker “vacations” are “taken” in the USA. The problem is pervasive. But, I think this is true for any key person in a USA company. Key executives. Key managers. Key staff. Truly key people in American companies are always tethered to the office in some way during “vacations”. How do you escape? [u]Get good people to delegate to and also task them with protecting your vacation[/u]. :^0

      On the bright side: The more they attempt to abuse your vacation time, the more job security you have achieved! 😉

      • #2615744

        China absent

        by dr dij ·

        In reply to Conspicuously absent from the list: China

        many chinese and other developing countries certain worker categories work 6 days a week (and even 7 for some factory jobs). Since the vacation / holiday figures don’t include weekend days lost for 6 (or 7) day weeks (52 * 2 = 104 days) they could be misleading.

      • #2616468

        That is odd about China

        by av . ·

        In reply to Conspicuously absent from the list: China

        I’m not surprised though. I think the Chinese are treated like automatons. The same goes for the Philippines and Thailand looking at those numbers. Its no wonder why American companies want to outsource our jobs there.

        When I was a one-woman operation, I finally convinced the company I work for to have a consultant to fill in for me when I went on vacation. Before that, I used to check in or try to handle the problem from wherever I was. Everytime I used to go away, something would f*ck up and I’d have to deal with it from afar when I was on vacation. A smaller company doesn’t have any staff. Its a ball and chain existance.

        Yes. I have job security, but what about quality of life? I’ve thought alot about that lately after spending 20 years in IT.


    • #2615733

      Oh Canada

      by shellbot ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      Well, everytime someone asks me would i not move to back to canada i say “hell no”
      Very few vacation days..and just plain poor protection for workers. Now yes, some palces aren’t so bad..but others are and they don’t care, because when you leave there are 10 more people fighting for your job..

      20 days is the legal min for paid vacation days in Ireland. a lot of IT workers would actually get more..its up to the company. My hubby gets 25 days I think. I get 28,(plus public holidays) but 3 of them I have to take when the company wants me to, usually 2 days at Xmas and Good Friday.

      In my place you are encouraged to take 1 full week in the spring, 2 weeks in the summer, 1 in the winter and then your remaining days here and there as one offs as you need.

      As for oncall and overtime..I don’t know a whole lot of people who do much of that. Oh yes there are some places..I know Intel let staff work a lot of overtime, but only if they want to..

      After reading that article, I’m considering brushing up on my french and going to france..30…

      • #2616473

        It sounds like you have a good thing going in Ireland

        by av . ·

        In reply to Oh Canada

        That kind of time is unheard of in the states. But Oh Canada! Thats absolutely pitiful. Didn’t know you lived there at one time. I always thought they had it better than the states.

        I work overtime on a regular basis but don’t get paid for it because I’m “salaried”. I have to constantly fight to keep the overtime under control, but I do. My hubby, also an IT guy, is sometimes on call 24 hours a day. Its like one week a month. He gets paid, but who wants to handle an IT call at 2am when you should be sleeping.

        I’ve worked at my job for about 14 years. I have 20 vacation days now and 8 holidays. I’m doing pretty good as far as American jobs go, but I can’t ever leave because I’ll have to start over. If I have to do that, France is looking pretty good to me too.


        • #2616371

          closet canadian :)

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to It sounds like you have a good thing going in Ireland

          I’m a hoser eh..
          Moved to Ireland aout 8 years ago. Put it this Canada i worked at Tim Hortons and Superstore, was the best jobs i could get witout all sorts of qualifications..moved to Ireland..took an Access course and the rest is history.

          They have a lot of “worker protection” over here. Most of it thanks to the EU. In most places over here, if you work overtime, you get paid for it (even if you are on salary)OR time off in liue.
          In my place we have to kepe strict time of our hours..and if we are owed any time, we have to try and take it as soon as possible. For example, stayed a few mins late last week, and had a short lunch one day..i now have 50 mins to take on Friday. Sweet huh?
          Its the only reason i’m still in my place..hate it, but conditions are pretty good…

          Wow, I can’t imagine having to lose all my vacation time to change jobs..thats not nice!

      • #2633889

        Vacation days and paid leave

        by rob mekel ·

        In reply to Oh Canada

        Well I think it’s not that bad in the Netherlands 🙂

        Minimum of 20 vacation days
        36 hour working week
        sick day’s paid by law 70% (excluded first 2 but they are paid by the company and 30% added to the 70%) max 1 year.
        10 day’s paid the rest unpaid leave if wanna take care of sick child or direct family
        Extra working hours can be refunded in free time. Meaning 13 days extra leave if working 40 hours a week.
        1 day extra if over 45
        1 day extra if over 50
        1 day extra if over 55
        early retirement at 60 (70-80%)
        2 christmas day’s if not in the weekend
        1 newyears day if not in the weekend
        1 day leave on goodfriday
        2nd easter day leave
        1 Queens day if not on saturday (if queens day is on sunday we get monday free)
        5 May free — liberty day
        1 day free at Ascensionday
        2nd Whitsunday (actualy it’s monday)

        The max for me … (not sickday’s nor taking care … had zipp of them the last 15 years)
        36 vacation day’s free to spend through out the year
        9 Christian or otherwise dedicated days

        Not bad I think.


    • #2615704

      It would be interesting to see

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      if in these other countries there is as much costs per employee in employer contributions? Because there is a high cost for each full time employee, many employers try to get by with less of them.

      Between unemployment, taxes, benefits, what you see in your pay check is usually only half of your cost to your employer.

      I have never taken more than a week off at one time.

      • #2616551

        Answer (maybe)

        by dawgit ·

        In reply to It would be interesting to see

        Here in Germany, and I think Europe in general, it factors to a little less, 40% to 45%. It’s really hard to tell, depends on whither the company is trying to negotiate a better deal with a it’s workers or the unions. (than it gets inflated)
        In general it has been found in Europe, anyway, that the more time you work your people, doesn’t mean more productivity. (in fact it usually leads to less.) Happy workers actually do more work and at a greater quality factor also. -d

        • #2616477

          Happy workers

          by av . ·

          In reply to Answer (maybe)

          Dawgit, You’ve made an excellent point about productivity that I think American companies are missing. Europe has it right – happy workers do more quality work.

          The cost per employee in Europe is slightly lower, but American companies need to recognize that people need time off. An American just starting a job may have only 10 days vacation for their first 3 years of employment. Thats just not enough and leads to worker burnout. Unpaid time off is usually frowned upon. Some people can’t afford that anyway, but for those that can they shouldn’t be looked at as not being a “team player”.

          In 2006 where I work, New Years Day, a usual official holiday fell on a Sunday. Many companies that always gave that day off gave the Monday off, January 2nd, instead. My company decided everyone should work that day unless they used a vacation day. The workers in my office so resented it that it caused a severe morale problem. There was no productivity, just a pall over the entire office. It lasted for a good couple of weeks. Even people that were exceptional employees had a real change of attitude about their job. They felt they weren’t appreciated.

          Time off is always different for IT workers, but I think I’d be treated better in Europe.


        • #2616375

          Unpaid time

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to Happy workers

          Most places here are pretty decent about unpaid leave..
          Last year when i was having some daughter problems, i had 6 weeks unpaid leave.

          Here you get parental leave as well. (not sure, but up to two weeks a year if your kid is under a certain age)

          Then sick leave, I get 10 days paid per year..

          My hubby gets 2 “duvet” days a year as well..2 days a year you can call in on short notice and take the day off, no questions asked.

        • #2616337

          In the US, we have the Family Medical Leave Act

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Unpaid time

          If there is a medical crisis, you get off (unpaid) as long as you need. Of course, you have to use up all of your vacation days towards it first, but it does protect you if you need an extended leave.

          I have also known employers that would allow people to start an hour early or late, because of issues in child transportation.

          This majorly flawed report doesn’t reflect how many people don’t TAKE all of their vac and personal days because they NEED the money.

          Government has no place stepping in and legislating vacation days.

        • #2634043

          I don’t agree with that JD

          by av . ·

          In reply to In the US, we have the Family Medical Leave Act

          The Family Medical Leave Act is a needed worker protection program, but why should I have to use all of my vacation time first before it kicks in. That bites. Why should I not have some time off because I had to care for a sick relative.

          Employers that allow people to start an hour early or late are giving flexibility but those people still have to work the same amount of hours. The company isn’t giving them anything but flexibility. Big whoop.

          Compared to other countries, American companies don’t give you anything. If the government didn’t step in, we wouldn’t even have the job protection provided for under the Family Medical Leave Act.

          In many companies, people that don’t take their vacation just lose it. Many companies don’t let you carry it over from year to year and they don’t pay you for the days you didn’t take.

          I think the government should step in and guarantee that any worker should have a certain amount of vacation days a year that are used for vacation and nothing else. We’re not automatons.

          I think the report is very telling about how American companies don’t give a rat’s a$$ about their workers. And Canada, you’re even worse.


        • #2615263

          Your vacations and personal days are for when you have personal issues

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to I don’t agree with that JD

          And it amazes me that you think you shouldn’t use this time for your issues as they come up.

          Sorry, but I am strongly against the notions of a socialist society and/or a nanny state.

        • #2614377


          by av . ·

          In reply to I don’t agree with that JD

          Vacation days are different than personal days. Everyone needs some vacation to maintain their health and sanity. Otherwise we’re no different than the sweat shops in 3rd world companies.

          It isn’t an entitlement program because the government isn’t paying for it, but the government should ensure that companies treat their workers humanely. Vacation should be part of that. I’m talking about full and part time workers. Consulting jobs are different.

          Look at what other developed countries give their workers in vacation and compare it to what we get here. I think companies are getting away cheap and our government is more interested in serving them than they are into looking out for the needs of the average working Joe.

          We should be embarrassed, but Oh Canada should be more embarassed than us.


        • #2616338

          A key part of what you said AV

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Happy workers

          [i]”Unpaid time off is usually frowned upon. [b]Some people can’t afford that anyway[/b]”[/i]

          How many people do you know that willingly work overtime and actually volunteer for it? Why? Because the morons have over-spent their budget and to pay for the “American Dream” they now HAVE to spend all of their time working just to pay for the fancy house and car that they now have no time to enjoy.

          We work more (in general) because we HAVE to work more to pay our bills.

          One of the major factors of me changing the way I live my life. I have not taken on any new debt in four years, and that was minimal to get a car.

          [b]Want less, enjoy more.

        • #2616296

          i’m with ya

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to A key part of what you said AV

          since we sold the hosue and moved we in a “paring back” mode.
          been getting rid of all the “stuff” in the house that is only collecting dust..
          we’ve paid off almost all the money we owed..and not planning on making any purchases at all in the next while..

          I realised we had a big house and all this stuff..and no time to appreciate now we have a small house, a few toys to play with and plenty of money to enjoy it!!

          For the next while, the only thing i am spending much money on is travel..because we both enjoy it.

          Unfortunatly some people HAVE to work overtime to make ends meet..i thank god I don’t have to..when 5pm hits..i am out that door. I would actually (and have done so) refuse a job that had regular overtime, or being on call..

        • #2616284

          Sounds great Shell

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to i’m with ya

          I am cutting back because I need to do two things. Get my boys through college, and build up my 401K and Roth.

          The only toy I would really like to have right now is a few kayaks.

          Buying my ex out of the house, so I don’t have to move now. Will wait until the boys move out on their own, and then buy something smaller for myself. 😀

        • #2616279


          by shellbot ·

          In reply to Sounds great Shell

          probably the best thing to do, buy her out and stay put..

          well..i look around at people here, there is a lot of wealth, but there is also a lot of people living on credit. Everyone has nice things and designer bags, shoes and clothes..but they are working like dogs to pay for it and i just think that in a couple years what will they have to show for all thier hard work? Experiences and stories to rememeber all thier lives..or a pair of worn out shoes and a handbag with holes in it?
          Things are starting to tighten up here, and i think there will be a bit of chaos when the banks want the loans paid and the credit card companies want more than the min payment in the next year or so. Part of me feels sorry for them, but most of me thinks they are fools who spent money to have the same things as thier friends its thier own fault!

          Ah..isn’t it great to be older and wiser JD 🙂

        • #2616246

          The only part of housing that is booming

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Sounds great Shell

          is repo’s.

          It has been bad here for a few years now, and has recently gotten worse for a number of reasons.

          One, our Democrat Governor is leading us to the single highest unemployment in the country and all she can do is blame Bush… She is looking to slap a tax on anything she can get her Canadian mitts on.

          Two, flexible rate loans. People got these when the rates were killer low. Now they rates are outrageous and people can’t afford their payments anymore. I know someone that just let her house go back to the bank last month because between the raising rates and lowering value, she owed about 30k more than the current value and she couldn’t make the payment.

          Three, over spending. People basing everything by their payment on if they can get more “stuff”. Everything is bought on plastic.

          I use my check card for everything.

          Can’t speak about the older, but definitely wiser! B-)

        • #2634035

          Thats the way to go

          by av . ·

          In reply to i’m with ya

          Its just amazing to me how much stuff one can accumulate. I used to think I wanted a big house, but now I look at houses as how much do I want to clean. :^0

          My hubby and I have a small house with about 4 1/2 acres and now that we are getting older, it is getting harder and more expensive to keep it up. We would love to sell it, but the real estate market isn’t the best right now in the US for sellers.

          I think its great that you can do what you want. I try to avoid whatever overtime I can. I don’t get paid for it and really don’t want to do it if I don’t have to.

          I think in the IT world you can expect to work overtime if you support the critical systems of the company. I do that now, but my next job is going to be something that doesn’t. I’d like to travel and enjoy a more leisurely existance too.


        • #2615357

          Salary, so no OT for me

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Thats the way to go

          My hours are “as needed to get the job done”. If there is an emergency, I have to stay. If it is a problem but not critical, it will wait till morning, especially if it wasn’t my fault. B-)

          If I need to work a weekend, I take a weekday off in exchange so my hours balance out. I don’t complain about staying late because they don’t complain when I have to leave early. Being a single father with full custody isn’t always easy.

          Oh, they paid for my BA I just got, as well as my certs.

        • #2634046

          Thats true of alot of people

          by av . ·

          In reply to A key part of what you said AV

          It was only a matter of time before the McMansion crowd with the gas-guzzling SUVs hit a brick wall with their finances. They do have to work alot of overtime to support that lifestyle. I’d rather have less and enjoy my life more.

          But, honestly, it costs a small fortune for anyone to live today. I don’t know how people with kids can make ends meet. You have 2 kids that will probably go to college in a couple of years. College costs major bucks. Its just ridiculous.

          I think its a smart move on your part to have as little debt as possible. Thats really a throwback to past generations that only bought something if they had the cash to pay for it.


          Edited because I forgot a word

        • #2634036

          My ex wanted more…

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to A key part of what you said AV

          and when I was laid off, she wouldn’t cut back (why should SHE have to suffe, I was the one laid off right?) and that was just one of many reasons she is my ex…

          I’ve always been spartan in my tastes, but uncle Sam picking my pockets doesn’t help.

        • #2615356

          picking your pockets?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to My ex wanted more…

          Stop voting Democrat and it won’t happen as much.

        • #2615309

          Won’t happen

          by rob mekel ·

          In reply to picking your pockets?

          as much … just if the others do … they make sure y’ll have nothing left 😉
          [i]couldn’t help myself … was to easy to leave it open hehehe[/i]

          If government want’s to be a pick-pocket … it doesn’t matter if they’re right, left or middle (wing)politicians. If they need the money, they’ll get it from whoever has some to get picked off. 🙂
          Sad thing is: it’s always done with
          … It will be to your benefit as well …
          Well let me be the judge of that; don’t need somebody else to make up my mind or deciding what’s good for me.

          Ah well, [b]SWMBO[/b] has some pretty good ideas and that name has its reason. 😀 😉


    • #2634009

      “Key Workers tethered during vacations”

      by drowningnotwaving ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      I’ve noticed a number of posts in different positions discussing the requirement of (key / senior ?) workers to be ‘available’ during their vacation, particularly amongst the American contingent.

      I’ve never lived in the US but I have certainly worked in large stints (during which I took vacation). Similar in UK and in Europe.

      My take?

      Just say no.

      Times to exercise discretion?

      – If you own the company.
      – If your team is closing a big deal and your target relies on it (in which case you’d probably quesiton the timing of the vacation, but sometimes it happens).

      IMHO most people I’ve seen keep in touch, generally have some overblown opinion of their own importance and therefore the business’s reliance upon them.

      Just don’t pick up the phone! Don’t read emails ! Make sure your backup plan is in place. Your family, friends and sanity need you more than the email does.

      Funnily enough, I know a heart surgeon who religously drops all contact whilst on vacation. He recognises the need and objective of his relaxation as the greater service he can provide to his staff and clients.

      Don’t tell me it is more critical in IT or in business in general.

    • #2633923

      At this time in my life, yes we are working too much

      by dadspad ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      but looking back on my younger days, when I was just getting into Pc’s, even without paid overtime, I spent a lot of time working, enjoying, learning. I suspect I am not the only one.

      I also see too many people that do not care about the work they do, just the time off they want. I seem to find them behind counters, at stores in customer service, on the telephones when I am trying to get help.

      We also have a lot of retired people here, and they have lots of time, but no patience to wait behind someone. Maybe too much time off is not alway good. 🙂

    • #2615465

      O Canada and really pissed about it……

      by stuey_c ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      I recently saw a job posting for an IT Manager, which of course came with a “Required Skills” list resembling that of a Nuclear Scientist with 25 years experience.

      Pay wasn’t bad, but the company was ademant about offering two weeks vacation, not negotiable.

      I would wholeheartedly vote for a government that would bring in mandatory vacation legislation.

      Any politicians out there?

    • #2615379


      by jgmsys9 ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      We seem to work longer and longer hours more and more often, while there is little to no reward for that extra labor. The only people who benefit from all our extra work are the clients (not that there’s anything wrong with them benefiting by it) and senior management, who give themselves obscenely large bonuses at our expense.

      • #2615358

        Work on a weekend and getting docked for leaving early for MD appt

        by navy moose ·

        In reply to Absolutely.

        A few weeks ago, I worked an entire Sunday on a network upgrade project. I’m salaried. I needed to leave a couple of hours early for an MD appt and I was told I would need to take vacation time to make up for the hours.

        I reminded my boss I was there all day Sunday and I shouldn’t be docked because I was still over my 40hrs. He eventually relented and said this is now how it is normally done. I bit my tongue instead of saying I don’t normally work on weekends.

        I honestly feel we work far too many hours. I worked for a Dutch company for a few years and saw my colleagues across the pond taking their Summer holidays. Sometimes they had someone filling in for them, sometimes not. Whatever they were doing was left until they got back.

        In Holland they have laws regulating the number of hours people can work and the government will punish a company if people are routinely working more than 40hrs.

        When I take time off, I do not answer my VM or email. I make sure my personal cell phone number is not given out so nobody can bother me. I tell people I am going away, when I will be back, and who is filling in for me.

        I am a firm believer in working to live instead of living to work.


    • #2615336

      Make yourself replaceable

      by tommy orange ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      I am assuming that since you have 20+ years you are in some kind of management role ? but if you are ?important? enough that your company can?t be without you for 2 or 3 weeks then you are not doing anyone any favors. As a manager or team lead ? you need to make sure that your knowledge is transferred to those around you. What if you get hit by a truck? You will be out a lot longer than 2 weeks.

      My suggestion ? share your knowledge and take an extended vacation.

      • #2614370

        I wish I could Aaron

        by av . ·

        In reply to Make yourself replaceable

        My problem is that I worked for a smaller company of about 65 people. I managed and basically did everything IT for them except for our system integrator that did the major upgrades. I did get the system integrator to cover my vacation (1 week), but they weren’t familiar with many legal-specific applications that we ran. Small companies don’t have the staff or resources to cover anything but the basics. If I get hit by a truck tomorrow, they will be missing alot. I have documented much of what I do, but I can’t do everything.

        It kind of stinks, but that is a downside of working for a smaller place. Last year, my small company became a little bigger though through a merger. There are 140 people and 2 IT people, so one day soon 2 weeks off might be a possiblity for me.

        A few years ago, Japan was considered the role model for work ethic in the US. There were videos of how the Japanese worked and played together and it was a team-builder-like existance. Does that still exist in Japan or is it different now?


    • #2615335

      Another Australian

      by drrnserious ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      All of our overworked IT staff are on “salaries” (low pay), this allows the company to not have to pay overtime, days off etc. On the average, the average working week is 60 hours not counting the fact that we are on 24/7 “emergency call” , yep, that means if some user decides to do some work in the quiet of a weekend and they can’t print etc , then they call us in…..usually letting us know that they are taking Monday off and they want to get all their work done so that it doesn’t intefere with their plans.

      • #2614063

        There is a really really easy answer to that …

        by drowningnotwaving ·

        In reply to Another Australian

        … quit.

        There are 1000’s of IT positions in every capital city and most large regional areas.

        You can pick and choose your career and work conditions. It is a seller’s market in terms of people in IT in Australia at the moment. Time to make hay while the sun shines, friend.

        If you’re any good, of course !! 🙂

    • #2606098

      I will cry you a river.

      by absolutely ·

      In reply to Do we work too much in the US?

      If you get any sense of accomplishment from
      your work, and you enjoy the place you go
      after work, your entire life is a paid
      vacation. I assume that with just one week
      of vacation in “20+ years in IT”, you would
      have quit if you didn’t really enjoy your
      job as much as a lot of people enjoy our
      time off.

      [i]I’m lucky if I can get 1 week of peace
      in the IT field. As it is, I have to check
      emails. What kind of time off is that? In
      my 20+ years in IT I have never taken 2
      weeks off at once. How sad is that?[/i]

      As you can tell, my heart is bleeding for

      [i]Do you think all of this work has paid
      off for you? Is it worth it?[/i]

      Your question is wrong in its use of the
      past tense. The work I’m doing now, at the
      beginning of my career, will pay off. It
      hasn’t yet, nor is that the point. It
      [b]will[/b] be worth it. The lower minimum
      (required) number of vacation days gives
      workers and employers the freedom to
      negotiate on vacation days and salary, even
      if few exercise that right. Some labor
      statistics that are more interesting to me
      are the measures of productivity in
      comparison to hours worked per week.

      • #2606042

        How compassionate of you

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to I will cry you a river.

        You should know by now that nothing is our faults and we are all too dumb to make decisions for ourselves. We [b]NEED[/b] to have “the government” mandate these things for us because they are so much smarter and wiser than we. [i] [/i]

        There is no place in the world that after 20 years only gives one week of vacation, so there is something else going on here. Can’t hold a steady job? Places downsizing or going out of business? It is clear he is not at the same place, and hasn’t been there long as many places get two weeks within a few years.

        As for taking it all at one time, unless there is a good overlap of duties, it is rare any tech of value CAN be gone for over a week.

        I have a clause where I am at that the majority of my vacation time MUST be taken during our “off season” which is the winter. I knew and accepted that as part of the terms of my employment.

        And as you pointed out AB, there is also the negotiations that take place. I make quite a bit over my co-worker who has been here for about 8 years longer than I have because I turned down the job at the initial wage offer, so they came back with a better offer. If you accept less than you feel you are worth, you have no one to blame but yourself.

      • #2604839

        Thank you for crying

        by av . ·

        In reply to I will cry you a river.

        I meant that I can only take 1 week of vacation at a time during a year, not during 20 years. I can’t take 2 weeks at a time and I still have to check emails during my week off. That is something that is, to me, a downside to this profession. Its not that I don’t enjoy my job, I do. Its curious to me though that other countries treat their IT people so differently. Why is it so?

        How long have you been in IT, Absolutely? Maybe not long enough to realize that the best laid plans don’t always work out the way you think. When I started in IT back in the ’80s, I thought this was a profession that would carry me through my entire career. I never thought about global competition or outsourcing. It didn’t exist then.

        Maybe my question of whether always working has paid off for you is the wrong tense, but the point is still the same. Apparently, you’re waiting for it to pay off one day. Hopefully, it will. Maybe not. It paid off for me, but not as much as I thought it would. I never thought about getting older and that one day companies might not want to hire me because of that.


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