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To be cross that DH's been asked to work long hours for "appearances"?

(36 Posts)
marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 11:25:30

DH leads a team at work and they have been doing very well and therefore have NO extra work and have been going home at 6pm.

DH's boss has just asked him and his team to put in extra hours for the next month "so that everyone else doesn't get jealous". This means that DH won't get home until after 10pm each night. He is sad about it as this is after DD has gone to sleep so he will only see her at weekends.

DH and his team have decided that they will put together a preview for a potential project that hasn't even been approved just to have something to do as there is no stuff coming down the pipe for their department (well, no more than they can handle during regular hours). Making up work for appearances sake FFS!

I think DH's boss is being terribly unreasonable and I suspect that the other depts would resent staying late at work just to make DH's team feel better were the situations reversed. Not that DH has ever asked this, even when the rest of the office took off for a two-week break while he was working 90+ hours per week!

cathcat Thu 01-Oct-09 11:30:35

That is bizarre! Yes the boss is BVU.

TrillianAstra Thu 01-Oct-09 11:31:48

That's very very weird and wrong.

FabBakerGirlIsSURVIVED Thu 01-Oct-09 11:32:49

This is utterly ridiculous.

Tell your dh to say he will do it if he is paid double as he is missing out on xyz.

Is his boss trying to get rid of staff?

beaniesinthebucketagain Thu 01-Oct-09 11:33:28

Is he being paid for the extra time, boss is being VU, id have to say something thats just not on!

steamedtreaclesponge Thu 01-Oct-09 11:34:37

Sorry, that is totally unreasonable. What planet is his boss on?

Poledra Thu 01-Oct-09 11:35:32

Haven't they heard of work life balance in his workplace? This is totally insane!

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 11:37:05

My guess is that his manager is afraid that the department will be downsized if it looks like there isn't enough work for them.

Bloody poor management tho'.

choosyfloosy Thu 01-Oct-09 11:37:49

Bloody hell! That is outrageous!

My best boss ever made a point of walking out of the office at 5pm every day because he had a family, and to make it absolutely clear to everyone around him that he was not impressed by crappy presenteeism. He just worked bloody hard in the meantime.

Sorry, I have no idea who your dh should tackle about this, but he should absolutely not go along with it.

PuppyMonkey Thu 01-Oct-09 11:39:10

Everyone else could always put in a bit more effort so that they too could go home at 6pm. Sounds like they are the ones that the boss should be talking to tbh. I hope your husband told him so.

It is a sign of inefficiency if you have to stay at work until 10pm in my book.

FimbleHobbs Thu 01-Oct-09 11:39:42

That is rubbish - YANB at all U.

Not sure how to handle it though without causing ructions which no one wants to do in this climate.

wukter Thu 01-Oct-09 11:42:42

FFS! Definitely work is BU. This just contributes to the long hours culture that so many are caught up in. Bad enough to be forced to give away your labour for free (isn't there a name for that?) during busy times but to miss out on family life for show! Grr so maddening - and he can't even complain because doesn't he know there's a recession on?

marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 11:46:27

DH is salaried, as is everyone there, so there is no extra pay for extra hours.

They DO have trouble retaining staff, but DH's boss sees it as a problem with everyone who has left, not him.

It's a sought-after industry so long hours are to be expected WHEN IT IS REQUIRED. Long hours because another department is working long hours is bizarre. If DH were to quit there would be 300 applicants to replace him so his boss really doesn't seem to care about the high turnover.

Work-Life balance in games development? Pbbbfh. The industry is NOTORIOUS for lack of it. Still, it's one thing to reconcile having to work long hours during crunchtime and another entirely to do it just so that others' tender feelings aren't tread on.

The extra galling thing is that we arranged for me to take our DD to her grandparents' in about a months' time and stay until New Years, with DH joining us mid-December PRECISELY so that he could work long hours without missing home life. This request means that he won't get to see DD in the evenings for a month before she leaves and he won't get to see her at all for over a month.

And we told his boss we were doing this so that he would know that DH can do as much overtime as needed during November

BelleWatling Thu 01-Oct-09 12:03:46

I was going to say marenmj - is your DH's boss my boss? I work in a very similar industry and presenteeism is a curse. Of course the long hours worked and actual productivity are inverse. Most people are there long hours but they also spend a lot of time paying their gas bill, facebooking, surfing the web mumsnet and online shopping.

and of course no-one can make a decision on their own or send an email without copying the world and his wife [rant emoticon]

FabBakerGirlIsSURVIVED Thu 01-Oct-09 12:28:31

What would happen if you DH just left at the normal time?

marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 12:50:57

He has been just leaving at the normal time. Yesterday his boss pulled him up for it. He gave him a talk about bringing down morale (hmm) by waltzing out so early.

Their depts do very specialized work, so it's not as though he can stay late helping the other dept just as they wouldn't be able to help him if he was snowed under. If they were desperate they would get someone from the same dept in another location to help.

I think he should tell his boss to stuff it and hire more people for the art dept, but then, I have an attitude problem (and according to his boss, so does DH, but it's usually for pointing stuff like this out). DH has decided, for the long-term good of the family, to put his head down and accept it.

Doesn't stop him from longingly looking at positions in LA that are sent to him by headhunters...

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 12:59:24

by LA do you mean Los Angeles? cos if you do, you need to be aware that "work life balance" is even less respected there than here?

What skills does he have, can he look for another job? My DH works as a developer in a company that does mapping and scheduling systems, needs many of the same skills as gaming in lots of respects.
His co is FAB, MD has 4 little girls, and insists that it's important that parents (inc fathers) get to school plays, hospital appts etc. Yes, sometimes he has to work VERY long hours to hit deadlines, but when there is no panic on he gets home early.

marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 13:11:40

I do mean Los Angeles. We moved here from just South of there, so we're well aware of the balance, but at least in LA the California state govt has passed regulations requiring companies to pay employees for overtime worked, even if they are salaried (after a HUGE controversy started by the wife of an EA employee who was sacked for not working 100 hours/week without extra pay).

You work for the love or the money and DH is getting neither love nor money here. At least in LA he could get money and another oscar for the mantle.

He's an animator not a programmer, so there isn't much room for him outside the film/games industry grin

He's top of his field in a very specialized niche. If he quit today he could have a higher-paying job elsewhere before the train ride home was finished - even in a recession. He stays in his job because we are settled here and his visa is contingent on it (so he cannot switch jobs willy nilly). A few extra hours for no good reason is galling, but not worth quitting over, no matter how much our parents would be thrilled to have us within a few hundred miles instead of a few thousand.

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 13:25:42

Then my love, in your shoes, I would get packing your bags, and go back to the USA.

You say he stays in his job because you are settled here, but it doesn't sound like he is settled, in fact he sounds very unsettled in his job, and that counts a great deal towards family happiness and stability.

Mind you, I would leave the UK like a shot given an opportunity, cos I think this country has gone to the wall.
If you are happy here for other reasons, then fine, but I'd want to go back where I could get rewarded and appreciated for what I did for a living, rather than treated like this.

marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 13:38:10

Oddly enough, his job now is much better than it was a year ago. His visa only has two years left on it and then he will have the freedom to move jobs. The company, aside from his immediate boss, has been marvellous to him. It really seems like this producer is a bad apple and is right to fear for his position. DH wants to give them a proper chance because there is HUGE potential there if they can just get around a couple stumbling blocks. If they can't, well, LA will always be there.

Funny, we ran the numbers a couple months ago and to have a similar lifestyle within commuting distance of LA it would cost roundabout $2000 more per month than it does in London. Most of that is housing because we would need to rent something and rental family homes are difficult to find and expensive. That doesn't even include the cost of an international move, which cost us about $10K last time. It's a massive undertaking and only worth doing if his position really is a dead end, which remains to be seen.

TrillianAstra Thu 01-Oct-09 13:39:39

PuppyMonkey - I agree.

If you are regularly staying til late (not as a one-off when something big is happening) then either there are not enough staff for the amount of work needing to be done or you are not working very efficiently.

FimbleHobbs Thu 01-Oct-09 13:40:18

Reading your updates, I revise my previous post. If I was your husband I'd tell the boss where to stick it and I'd be back to sunny LA in a flash!

(Not that I have ever been to LA but I'm sure its nicer than the UK, can never understand why people move from hot to cold places. [adjusts woolly jumper] Sorry for going on a tangent!)

marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 13:58:41

lol, the weather is nice in LA, but that's about it. If you didn't have to work and could spend all your time on the beach surfing, LA is a wonderful place.

I don't want to raise my daughter there. The people we met were, to a person, terrifically shallow. I realized I wouldn't want to have and raise kids there when I looked at my social circle and realized there wasn't a single one who hadn't had some sort of plastic surgery. The UK has its problems, but I get a much greater sense of community here.

Henry Rollins kids. Ha ha... so funny.

It's all about priorities.

marenmj Thu 01-Oct-09 14:25:22

I should add: DH is from Orange County so he wants the Southern California life for his daughter even less than I do. Moving to LA really is a contingency plan if we have no other options.

groundhogs Thu 01-Oct-09 18:57:55

Can your DH get a little team solidarity going.. i.e splitting up ONE extra hour between the team. So Your DH stays on the monday, for one hr, his colleague the next night for an hour and so on and so forth.

That way Mr Look Busy can be told, we are all staying in the office later than we need to, as you requested. It's my turn today, jims tomorrow and tony's the day after that.

i have a life, I have a family and I've finished my work. If team B and C are putting in the hours right now, then OK, cos we'll put in the hours when the project reaches the animation stage...

FFS, design is all swings and roundabouts, especially gaming... You enjoy the punctual nights cos you know one day the late nighters will come. But to stay for appearances....

I'd tell his boss if he wants to keep me in the office so I don't get home till 10pm, and miss seeing my family, he'd better tack on a nought on the end of my salary. I bet he expects your DH in the office first thing in the morning too eh? By the time he gets home, eats and unwinds from work, he'd need to be in bed asleep already.

I thought slavery was abolished?

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