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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.


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O Canada and really pissed about it......

by Stuey_C In reply to Do we work too much in th ...

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?

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by jgmsys In reply to Do we work too much in th ...

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.

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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.


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Make yourself replaceable

by Tommy Orange In reply to Do we work too much in th ...

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.

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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?


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Another Australian

by drrnserious In reply to Do we work too much in th ...

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.

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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 !! :)

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I will cry you a river.

by Absolutely In reply to Do we work too much in th ...

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'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?

As you can tell, my heart is bleeding for

Do you think all of this work has paid
off for you? Is it worth it?

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
will 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.

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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 NEED to have "the government" mandate these things for us because they are so much smarter and wiser than we. <stops to clean up the dripping sarcasm off of the floor>

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.

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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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