If You’re Working 60+ Hours a Week, You Need to Find a New Job ASAP!

60 hour work week

Go out and ask the first few people you run into how long they work each week.  It wouldn’t take long before you find someone who says they’re working a 60+ hour work week. In fact, it’s a statement that many full-time American workers make about their jobs.

Now ask them how they feel about their 60+ hour work weeks.  Do they enjoy it?  It is manageable?

I bet you’ll hear complaints from most of them!

America’s Culture of Work

The whole 60+ hour work week thing is an interesting topic to me.  America has a work culture that has normalized working to excessive lengths. 60, 80, even 100 hour work weeks have become shockingly common for many positions. In some cases, the culture has even gone as far to glorify working these long hours.  Next thing you know you end up with employees all trying to see who can work the longest whether it be for bragging rights and status or tangible rewards like raises and promotions.

The worst part of all of this is that hardly anyone likes it.  It cuts into time away from family, from self-care, from doing the things we enjoy or really want to do.  It makes life feel like an endless grind where there is never enough time to do the things we most care about.  Despite these feelings though, most people have settled with working these long hours as “just the way things are”.

This has been especially evident to me in my career as a Career Counselor and Academic Advisor.  The majority of the people I meet with are adults, whom like many of us, are in the grind of everyday life.  They have families, friends, full-time jobs, hobbies, side projects, goals, etc. just like any of us do.  Without fail, the biggest and most frequent challenge I hear from my clients is that they have to work long hours with their jobs.

Are People Actually Working That Long!?

All these claims of working crazy long hours do beg the question of, “Are people actually working this long?”  I hear countless stories of people working two or three jobs, or having to work 80 hours a week each and every week for the last year.  Bona fide horror stories in my opinion, if actually true.

But I’m not here to debate the validity of these claims. While do personally feel that many people exaggerate how long they work, or they spend more time unnecessarily with work than they really need to, that is a conversation for another day.  This post is about sharing a very important message to those who are actually working 60+ hour work weeks.  That message is…

Find a new job ASAP!

Taking a Firm Stance Against Long Work Hours

Work can be a good thing.  That’s the whole basis of this website.  But like most things in life, too much of anything is never good.  Working 60+ hour weeks is just downright unhealthy and it leads you down a road where you miss out on all the things in life that often matter the most in the end. Even if you have your own business or you love your work, variety is the spice of life and it’s beneficial to not over-do any one thing.

That’s why I personally have always had a very firm stance against working long hours.  The one-off 50-60 hour week here and there is no worry, but if there’s the slightest hint that long work weeks are becoming the norm my foot immediately goes down.  I would sooner quit my job and live more minimally before finding myself in a job where I had to work 60+ hours a week on a regular basis.

Call me a rebel, I suppose, but I’ve never felt the small gains of working overtime outweighed all the downsides that come along with it.  Life is too short to spend such a tremendous amount of it at work each week. 40-50 hour work weeks are plenty, especially when we have evidence now that adopting 30-35 hour work weeks can lead to higher productivity and increased employee happiness.

You Deserve Better

The truth is that good companies exist out there in the world.  There are companies that truly value work-life balance.  Companies that treat their employees with respect and kindness. Companies that take a genuine interest in their employees’ well-being and understand that working too many hours each week causes productivity and morale to plummet.

It’s really not right to work for a company that requires you to work 60 hour weeks over the long term.  It’s a terrible business practice that hardly does any good.  In many cases, it’s not even necessary and often the result of poor management and leadership.  I suggest you take a zero-tolerance approach to long work weeks similar to how I have. Otherwise, you’ll just reinforce these bad business practices by going along with them and usually make yourself miserable in the process.

It’s really important to mention as well that my firm stance against working long hours has never hurt or held back my career.  This could be a worry for some people, especially when business can feel so much like a “dog eat dog” world at times. It’s not surprising that people feel they need to live up to unrealistic standards to stay competitive in the market.

But it’s a myth – not true! Oh sure, I didn’t receive job offers at some companies where the norm was to work 80+ hour weeks.  Is that a big loss to me?  Nope. There’s plenty of gainful employment to be found in the world that won’t require such an immense sacrifice of your time and energy.

But What If You Need the Money?

For the folks that work so many hours because they need the money, I would like to offer the suggestion of living more minimally, if able. Not all of us are in this situation, but many of us do live excessively.  What’s the point of some of that excess if we’re always at work and never have time to enjoy it?

For the folks who are covering the bare necessities, look at what you can do to advance your position and earn more in the near future.  A college degree can be a longer-term option.  Vocational and Technical Schools can offer 1-2 year paths into well-paying jobs.  There are certifications people can pursue to increase their income.  Perhaps someone can take their skills and turn it into their own business.

Yes, I know all of these are easier said than done, but I don’t care for the alternative of a life working 60+ hour weeks until you can barely retire in your mid-60s.  I think a few years investment into yourself for decades of a better quality of life is definitely worth it.

The Benefits of Working Less

There are many reasons I feel so strongly that people should not accept working such long work weeks as the norm.  Time is valuable and it’s something we can never really get back once spent.  Do you want to spend it all on work each week?

By working reasonable hours each week, you’ll have more time to enjoy life.  You won’t be so stressed out.  You won’t be so mentally, physically, and emotionally fatigued.  More time for family and friends.  The ability to take care of your physical and mental health.  The capacity to pursue your hobbies, interests, and the things that make you excited to get up each morning.  Your entire life gets better.

I’ve seen this transformation happen first hand.  When my clients come in and tell me they quit their old job that was making them work 60+ hour weeks they look like a brand new person immediately.  They are upbeat.  They have a smile on their face. Each and every one of them are so glad to be working more reasonable hours and they feel happy (usually for the first time in a long time).  That makes me very happy, too.

Go Get That New Job

Don’t let your life be consumed by work.  Long work weeks are NOT just the way things are.  No one should have to work 60+ hour work weeks on a consistent basis.

If you are actually working 60 hours a week or more, go get that new job! It may not happen immediately, but you should most certainly start making the effort immediately to find something new. Brush off the resume, put in some applications, and do what you can to get out of the bad and into the good.

You owe it to yourself to find a better job that will treat your time and efforts with the respect they deserve.  These good companies and jobs do exist, so do your best to get out there and find them and don’t settle for less. I’m rooting for you!

Yours Truly,
– Mr. Happy Work

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Jayashree Sengupta
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Jayashree Sengupta

I work in research and it feels like there are never breaks and constant long hours. I got myself into blogging, photography, and travel in between. It helps to cut down the mental pressure a bit and make me feel a little happier about life.

Bindu Thomas
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Bindu Thomas

I know a lot of people who work many hours a day and not getting enough sleep. I will share this with them. Great post!

Kay
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Kay

I am definitely trying to start my own business. Long hours are not fun especially if the pay isn’t the best

Sophia
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Sophia

I definitely find myself working too much and would love to make a career change. I can’t keep working too much. Thanks for these words.

Christa
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Christa

My husband is European is can not understand the American work culture. I used to consistently work 50+ hours per week. It was terrible! I definitely have a better balance now.

Diana Tidswell
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Diana Tidswell

That sounds so exhausting. I’ll be better off selling my own stuff or doing my own business. At least i won’t have a boss. Your blog is great, I’ll share this with my fellow hardworkers

Alayna
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Alayna

I think it could make sense if you were working seasonally with several weeks or even months off in a year. But if not, it’s incredibly difficult over time.

roamy
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roamy

I do feel for people having to work so long put traffic both ways and you realize they spend most of their time away from home.We live in a world where employers are expecting more and more and not really caring that you have a life or not.
Luckily I do not have to do so many hours, we have 42 hours a week here and more than happy with it.

Gervin Khan
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Gervin Khan

This is such an interesting post and very informative as well. Employees should and must keep this in mind if they don’t want to lose themselves in the job they’re in.

Non Stop Family Travel Blog
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Non Stop Family Travel Blog

60 hours working in a week it sounds really impossible to have a family. It can’t be possible. In Portugal we work between 35 to 40 hours a week and, it’s already to much, we need more time for our families

Clare Minall
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Clare Minall

I love working. Sometimes, I take on overtime. But seriously, 60 hours? maybe that is too much. And I agree with you, at that point, you need to find a new job.

Lerry Angelique Gacias
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Lerry Angelique Gacias

Gosh! I’m so exhausted just by working for 40 hrs a week! Can’t imagine working for 60 hrs a week. Work smart is all I can say

Erika's Travelventures
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Erika's Travelventures

It’s interesting to see the statistics comparing happiness level vs how many hours worked per week on average, across all different countries. I completely agree that a 35-hour work week leads to more fulfillment in other areas of life.

Joanna
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Joanna

I can’t even imagine how working 60 hours a week would be like. You get no life at all. What’s the point of having money when you can’t spend it?

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