To not work 20+ hours above my contracted hours.

(44 Posts)
Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:35:09

In the last two weeks, I have worked my normal contracted hours plus and additional 20+ hours (easily) each week unpaid. I can take the time back, but I don't have time as it would cause me more work.

I'm happy to work very hard during my contracted hours, I also don't mind not having time for breaks or lunch (or to pop to the loo) BUT I just want to be able to work the hours that I'm contracted for.

AIBU? Is this just the way work is these days? Are we all doing it?

I've resigned so I won't be continuing in my current job, but is it likely that this will be the case whenever I go?

Without giving too much away I'm in an advisory position in the public sector.

LaurieMarlow Thu 17-Nov-16 09:41:54

In my industry (private sector consultancy) working significant hours beyond what's contracted (unpaid) is absolutely the norm.

It wouldn't always be 20+ per week though. Otherwise I'd be on my knees. But it sometimes is.

In my industry, I suspect it's the case wherever I go. Not at all sure about yours.

Sod that. I'll admit that I'll occasionally work on stuff at home in my own time, or stay a little later unpaid if it'll make my life easier in the long run but that's my choice. There's not a chance that I'd double my working hours for no money.

Are you being asked to do it or is it being set up that you have no choice? It's very cheeky and I'm glad you've resigned!

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:44:21

Are you paid for the extra hours or are you expected to try to take it back out of your working hours? I just lose the time and then my hourly rate ends up being very very low blush

idontlikealdi Thu 17-Nov-16 09:44:44

I think that once you are a certain grade / level / salary your contracted hours become irrelevant and it's about getting the job done. If you were in a NMW job the contract and hours are more relevant.

I'm private sector, contract says 31 hours a week, the reality is usually at least 41, sometimes up to 50 (I have to complete timesheets for billing so know exactly the hours I do do).

I don't think anyone in my industry does their contracted hours and there is certainly no overtime or getting time back.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:47:25

I have no choice Mrs D, if I didn't do it I would miss deadlines. Managers know I'm doing the extra hours and are complimentary about my ability to do my job and are nice, but nothing more.

Colleagues that don't keep on top of work have been dramatically forced out, we all live in fear of that happening to us hmm

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:49:21

Idon't, so it seems that this is just the world we work in now then.

I'm broken by it. I cannot achieve a work-life balance. I have a day off today and feel tearful and I keep thinking about work.

PaulDacresConscience Thu 17-Nov-16 09:52:06

What Aldi said. My contracted hours are 37.5 p/w. I usually end up working approx. 50 p/w. I am a manager so salaried and don't receive overtime. I am well paid but if you break it down into hours then suddenly the salary doesn't look quite so chunky!

I'm expected to manage my time. In practice there is never the opportunity to take all of these hours back, otherwise I'd never get my job done. It's very difficult trying to schedule annual leave in - let alone taking time in lieu. However I do get a certain amount of flexibility - so I have taken a later start this morning because I've worked so many hours last week and I need a bit of a break.

You need to be quite firm. My boss is a nightmare for making all the right noises about work-life balance - and she'll happily apply this to herself. In the real world she's not quite as obliging when it comes to the rest of us. But that's quite common and you have to be able to set your boundaries and manage upwards.

PaulDacresConscience Thu 17-Nov-16 09:53:26

The trick is that you need to like the job you are doing - because the extra hours are less of a 'hit' that way. It doesn't sound as if you are happy in what you are doing; time to speak to a recruiter?

LaurieMarlow Thu 17-Nov-16 09:55:53

It is absolutely shit Grace, without a doubt. And it isn't actually sustainable without a) considerable support at home b) immense drive to succeed c) very high ability.

Most of these types of jobs require you to give everything you have. It's not possible for most people. I can't do this for much longer because I have a husband, kids, home to run and a self to look after. So I can't continue to devote so much of my energy to making my company money. hmm

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:58:57

I've resigned so I'm just working my notice now.

I think I'll perhaps do consultancy work next so that I can charge an hourly rate.

I really enjoy being part of a team and my preference would be to just join a new team, however, reading the above is making me realise we're all in the same boat when we're paid employees.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:59:46

Laurie, that's exactly how I feel.

MrsRonBurgundy Thu 17-Nov-16 10:04:57

Most of my jobs have been the same as this and it was making me ill. I quit a job this year after working so late one night that I ended up being locked in the building and had to call my manager at home for the codes to get out. Even then, she didn't take my seriously when I told her my workload was too high and so I left.

I'm really really lucky in my job now. Same industry, same seniority, same money but even better as I get to work from home 4 days a week and my manager tells me off if I'm logged on late and she sees emails flying about after half 5. I think it depends on the company culture and your line managers attitude really. But being able to strike the balance has really really improved my health and my mood.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 10:13:20

MrsRon, that sounds wonderful and gives me hope that resigning has been the right decision.

FetchezLaVache Thu 17-Nov-16 10:17:55

What were your contracted hours - f/t?

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 10:19:12

No, part time - 30 hours.

Trifleorbust Thu 17-Nov-16 10:22:20

I think the answer is somewhere between the two. Most people do some unpaid overtime to get the job done, but 20 hours is excessive and is indicative of an unrealistic workload. You have to negotiate with your managers and explain that it is feasible for you to do 20 hours a week of extra work. They need to take something off your plate etc. Don't just accept it.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 10:26:23

I've resigned now Trifle. I had raised workload issues but due to huge staff losses, they didn't have anyone to allocate my work to and because I was keeping abreast of it, I don't think they were motivated to resolve the issue.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 17-Nov-16 10:26:33

I also work in an advisory role in the public sector and where we are it is totally different to your experience OP.

We have a reasonable workload that is easily achievable in contracted hours and if you work extra hours due to travel, you can take them back most of the time, or just work shorter days to lose the extra time gradually.

It's only the very senior staff and perfectionists/workaholics/avoiders of home duties that work more than standard hours. It's one of the best things about my job - I could probably earn £10/20k more and have a lot more perks in the private sector in the same job but I like being able to work 37.5 hours per week most weeks instead of 50+ being the norm.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 10:29:42

Barbara, that's positive to hear. Perhaps it's just where I am!

Trifleorbust Thu 17-Nov-16 10:35:43

I get that you have now resigned but this is the approach you need to take with future employers. Don't do a full time job for a part time salary.

LaurieMarlow Thu 17-Nov-16 10:37:30

Fundamentally it's an issue of resourcing.

These problems are baked into private sector consultancy because they will never knowingly be over resourced (because people are their biggest outlay) and they'll usually under-egg the cost of a job to appear competitive. In the end, the work has to be done and the resource just isn't there except for people working for free.

But industry/public sector might be different if managers are sensible about resourcing and have the means to resource properly. That might be something to ask about in your next interview Grace. How do they manage workloads? What steps do they take when workloads become too much? What do they think an acceptable level of overtime is?

They won't necessarily give you honest answers, but you may learn a lot from the response.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 10:37:39

You're absolutely right Trifle, I won't ever get into this position again.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 10:41:30

Laurie, that's a really good point. I'm not going to look for work straight away, but rather take some time out. I really have been pushed to my limit. I'm so sad for my lovely colleagues that I'm leaving behind, but more than 10 have already left this year and I know another is handing her resignation in today. Life is too short to live like this.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 17-Nov-16 10:42:37

Re FT job for a PT salary, that is a trap that people sometimes fall into. They ask for and get part time hours, and part time pay, but their workload isn't actually reduced accordingly, and they end up having to somehow squeeze a full time workload into PT hours or work extra at home etc, which is obviously unfair.

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