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How much working is too much?

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posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:12 AM
I hope this thread suits this subforum, after all overworking is considered a societal issue.

When reading different threads, especially the ones on minimum wage or some other financial societal issue, often people mention working 50, even 60 or more hours a week, while being proud of being a "hard worker". This always makes me think on the long-term negative issues of putting in that long hours.

There have been lots of studies on the matter and determing the "optimal amount" of work per week is largely dependent on the individual, their lifestyle as well as many other factors, although generally studies tend to agree that around 40 hours is the optimal work time long-term. Round here at least, generally people tend to agree that 40 hours is the reasonable amount and the amount of hours that should earn any adult enough to live reasonably well, getting their food bought, rent covered etc. And well that is something that is expected from the employers, that is how the minimum wage is generally set out, so anybody working 40 hours can live reasonably well and has no need for government benefits or longer hours.

In my eyes, the 40-hours is reasonable amount, although it could be a bit less. At some point, for most people, putting in the longer hours could lead to health issues and significant productivity loss at a bit older age. Of course, this can lead to higher salary short-term, but the health troubles that can arise are not worth it, at least in my eyes - cardivascular issues, problems with cortisole levels (stress hormone), for office workers often overweight due to not having enough time for physical activities. Fatigue can also lead to mistakes at work and other problems.

Besides all the health issues, there are many other things to consider, which create the question, how important is the additional salary gained. Long hours do not let a person spend much time with their family, with their outside-work friends. Long-term this can lead to marital issues, general disconnectedness. Also for the children, not having the time with their family can lead to different negative psychological effects.

All this in my eyes at least, is not worth it. One needs to separate work from other life. No money is worth losing good friends, family problems, health issues.

I personally tend to believe in working smart, rather than putting in the extreme hours. Usually my weeks vary between 25 and 35 hours with addition to a few additional hours working from home. I consider myself very hard-working person and well, for me at least, the longer hours would not earn significantly more due to productivity loss, I believe these would rather lead to lower performance. Taking enough breaks and having enough rest helps me do significantly more than the additional hours would.

But what do you believe is the reasonable amount of hours to work every week? Is overworking worth the negative issues it can lead to? Is it reasonable from employer to expect their employees put in long-hours just to survive?

edit on 18-3-2014 by Cabin because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:15 AM
reply to post by Cabin

I read once that chimps and gorillas spend about eight hours a week looking for food and making nests. Seems about the right amount for humans too. Our chimp and 'illa cousins also spend much of their day laying about. Not a bad plan.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:18 AM
I work 12hr days, constantly on my feet, lifting and pulling weights in excess of 1k pounds on a pallet jack and I can tell you 50+ hours a week is too much. 12hr days is too much.

I don't have much time after work to do anything and when I do make time I"m way too exhausted to do anything. That means I spend my days off letting my body recuperate so I can go back at it again to earn an honest pay check, which is meager. $9-10hr for 12hr days is BS.

I think family/friend time is important and all the money in the world isn't worth one's sanity. I say 30hr work weeks max would be great.

I'm also against 3rd shift, the human body isn't wired to function at those hours so I personally find it unhealthy from doing it myself.
edit on 18-3-2014 by kimish because: (no reason given)

edit on 18-3-2014 by kimish because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:24 AM
reply to post by Cabin

If you enjoy the job then there is no real limit to how many hours you can put into the job.

From experience, bringing the computer programming tasks home and continuing with them during the evening takes away alot of the hassle the following day when returning to the office.

This is usually true until Friday afternoon when a workers brain is a pile of jelly.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:29 AM
reply to post by Cabin

40+ hours a week is too much. I have worked over this for over 15 years now and there is no time to do anything with your family, ever!

Too bad we couldn't get that to change, but good luck telling employers they have to pay their employees twice the amount they make now for them to work half the time....It won't happen, so until that day I must remain a slave to the working environment, leaving no time for family or personal issues....Story of life for most, unfortunately!

Slave away to pay taxes for things that don't benefit us, work to buy a car to pay to drive, pay the state to keep a license, pay an insurance company to allow you to drive legally....Or buy a house to stay at for a few hours a week when you aren't working....It is a joke of a system and not how humans are supposed to be living on this beautiful earth....

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:34 AM
reply to post by Chrisfishenstein

Excellent! I couldn't have said it better.


posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:48 AM
When you are at work more than you are working at home then you are working too much. People are so afraid of losing their job that many never even take the vacations they have coming to them because they are afraid their job won't be there when they get back. So we allow employers to treat us like modern day slaves.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:50 AM
I have no idea what everyone is complaining about. I work a 40 hour a week job teaching school (I am typing this while I eat my lunch at my desk). I also have 2 part time jobs requiring about 10 hours per week total, so that's about 50 hours spent working in a week.

Let's analyze a week. 7 days x 24 hours is 168 hours. Let's put in 8 hours for sleeping every night, which leaves us with 112 hours in the week. If I subtract 50 hours for working, that still leaves me with 62 hours to do the things I need to do around the house and for recreation, plus grooming and commuting to work.

I have absolutely NO trouble fitting in everything I want to do in a week. Yes, I'm busy, with 2 teenagers who I have to run around town, but I have plenty of time for anything I want to fit in.

Maybe I'm just really efficient.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:53 AM

reply to post by Cabin

I read once that chimps and gorillas spend about eight hours a week looking for food and making nests. Seems about the right amount for humans too. Our chimp and 'illa cousins also spend much of their day laying about. Not a bad plan.

Sounds much like my working week..^^^^

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 10:58 AM
I work 12 days on and 2 days off at an average of 10 hrs. I get 120 hours every pay check which is 40 hours over time. But I clock in at 6:00 AM, so I'm off fairly early in the afternoon. It seems to work great for me, i love and need the extra money. As well I can always take off for the weekend in between and have lots of vacation time every year, so my schedule affords me to pick and choose my down time. I work in solar energy and love my job. My schedule seems to me to be the perfect work schedule . It feels like it's tailored to a healthy routine. It keeps me alert, in shape and grounded. It also keeps me from moving on and making more money elsewhere because I really think that the balance between work and life is important.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 11:03 AM
Any working that is slave labor, or for your natural rights on earth as any creature great or small to procure habit, food, gardens and access resources, anything that would earn another a home but you substandard living as a slave to them, either official or unofficially recognized slave, domination or pyramid schemes for economics, is intrinsically unethical, evil, but also UNLAWFUL.

So, unless that work is for your dream, and something you're contributing or to do with your own home and food, none is the acceptable answer. Then comes the whole, exchange energy for specialized services. Well, balance and intelligent soul searching is required.

All work should be low hours and high return enough to procur your own land and home, your own goods and services, your own repairs, your childrens needs and education, and also have money in saving.

So our world has a bit of problem treating people fairly. If I had a business, I'd have really hard time employing slaves, would have to do profit sharing. Ensure everyone was able to procur homes, everyone's health was good, they were growing, learning and happy, perhaps help them achieve their own businesses and dreams, and pay attention to their families and ensure their kids had them for every need, without penalties. That is the only possible ethical way to run a company, and its not done is it?
edit on 18-3-2014 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 11:07 AM
I've worked 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. I never got any more done in a 12 hour day than I did in an 8 hour day. I'm not sure why, but I seemed to always "pace" myself differently when I knew I had another 4 more hours.

I wonder if there is a study out there that proves that 12 shifts aren't any more productive than an 8 hour shift?

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 11:59 AM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

I've heard a study showed in my trade you normally get about 6 hours productivity in an 8 hour day. I've worked 12 hour shifts and we did get more done than in 8 hours, but you know you slow down a bit.

I like it where we normally work 8 hour days, 5 days a week and an occasional saturday. Then shift to maybe 5 10's and an 8 or 5 or 6 10s and 8 sunday. Then the occasional 7 12s, then back to 40 again lol...

One project was winding down and 7 12s was mandatory but could work as much as we wanted. Did many 15 and 16 hour days. Hard to pass up the money as my kids are grown and live alone. Plus double time was 80 an hour on that job so yeah, I can handle 16 hours of that lol.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 12:02 PM
reply to post by tinner07

I suppose it depends on your trade. I wouldn't want to weld galvanized steel for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. That sounds like a death sentence!

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 12:10 PM
No one on their death bed ever reflected on the joys of working...they reflect on their family, friends and the pursuit of their passion.

Working should be a means to an end, not the bulk of our existence.

It seems modern life - driven by consumption corporatism - has us all screwed up.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 12:17 PM
I used to "work smarter" rather than harder until I discovered that increasing mu efficiency and output did not translate into less hours worked. It just raised the bar for everyone else.

When I was younger and working these unskilled/low qualification jobs I always thought some form of quota would be ideal.

If I am to earn x number of dollars for y number of widgets then I could spend whatever time I needed working as efficiently as possible to be done for the week, month or year then spend the rest of the time doing whatever I wanted to. Of course the reality is you are supposed to be at a place for x number of hours no matter how many widgets you produce so of course efficiency and productivity fall. Why be more productive when there is no reward for it?

Now that I'm a "highly qualified salaried professional" I seem to be working every waking moment either at the office, on the road or at home so my actual "output" if I can call it that falls way back since there is no feasible way to ever be "done" with what I do.
edit on 18-3-2014 by thisguyrighthere because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 12:29 PM
reply to post by Cabin

Frankly I'd be happy if I had a 40hour/week job. I work 50+ every week. Doesn't leave a lot of quality time, or "get my head together time" but I like what I do. I don't always like the circumstances that surround what I do, nor the "reward" for doing it, nor always who I work for, but it's what I do.

I don't like the artificial constructs that we as a society have allowed to be put into place to make us "acceptable" in societal terms. I don't keep up with the Joneses, I don't drive the latest greatest car, and I don't wear the latest trending clothing. I certainly don't like the "pop"music of the day, nor go to movies anymore. I got rid of my credit cards years ago, hence I don't spend more than I make.

40 hours a week would suffice.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

And because you are always working, at work or not, you effectively lower your real hourly rate, if you weren't salaried. .

I agree with your assessment about the pitfalls of productivity. Often the reward for working harder or smarter to increase productivity is permanent higher expectations in pursuit of profit and at the expense of employees. It's so common that there is a term for it. "burn 'em and turn 'em".

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 02:31 PM
Im just gonna blow the lid off of what were all thinking:

A 30hr week (6hrs a day) would be optimal.

Take into consideration that the west is now a 7 days a week/14hr shop trading times - Many people dont have 2 consecutive days off and work non traditional hours because the business requires it.
This cause's a time strain on employee's, we simply do not have enough time to get our personal # done - Including relaxation.

They predicted after WW2 that eventually we would all be working 3 day weeks... The dream is still alive with me haha.

posted on Mar, 18 2014 @ 08:16 PM
reply to post by Cabin

Only from my own personal experience here...I worked in a University Hospital 7 years straight 40 hrs from Sunday afternoons to Tues-2 doubles (16hrs) and 1 single shift (8). When I got home Tuesday, the phone would ring asking me to come back for OT...and I would..40-5- hrs OVERTIME every week. And I would also work every holiday which was also double-time and OT because I was always in overtime.

My wife eventually made me promise I would never work a holiday again...and Ive only worked a few here and there. But I missed interacting with many now deceased relatives. But at the time...$$$ seemed important.

Not so much anymore.

edit on 09-22-2013 by mysterioustranger because: ckg

edit on 09-22-2013 by mysterioustranger because: (no reason given)

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