Working overtime seems like a rite of passage for some, and working overtime occasionally isn’t a big deal. But if you work for a company where working overtime without compensation is just considered the norm, that’s a huge problem. Here’s why.
1. You’re making less money. A pal of mine was making a respectable salary of $55,000 a year plus occasional bonuses. Then he realized he was working 60 to 80 hours per week and not the 40 hours per week he’d agreed to when he got hired, making his hourly earnings barely minimum wage. When you work for free, you devalue your time and your work itself, and you allow your employer to do the same.
2. You miss out on other opportunities. Those extra 20 hours you spend on the clock unpaid? You could have spent them napping, with your kids, visiting family, playing soccer, or just looking for a better job that also allows you to actually have free time. Overtime hours are a tactic some companies use to passive aggressively encourage loyalty, because, well, if you don’t have time to look elsewhere, you won’t.
3. Constant overtime hours are a symptom of poor management and a lack of leadership. If you’re expected to constantly work overtime to meet deadlines, that means your deadlines are unrealistic. It also means that your bosses don’t have the balls to tell clients that their expectations aren’t realistic. Do you really want to work for people like that?
4. Working overtime actually kills your productivity levels. But you already knew that, remember?