If You’re Working 60+ Hours a Week, You Need to Find a New Job ASAP!
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!
– Mr. Happy Work