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Kageru
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Reply #70 on: April 27, 2012, 12:08:44 AM


Which is of course why they do it and don't want employee's feeling like anything other than eminently replaceable drones.

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Merusk
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Reply #71 on: April 27, 2012, 05:12:09 AM

I just had my annual performance review and one of their comments was that I don't spend enough overtime in the office, which makes them think I'm not learning.

Any company that expects overtime and *dings you for it during a performance review* is retarded. Find a new job!

My first job out of college was a similar company with a similar ding during my performance review.  Except they flat-out said, "You have to work at least 10 hours of overtime a week.  There are 4 of you in your position and if you all do it we don't have to hire anyone else."   This is the same company that also farmed me out to another department and an Engineering consultant as a simple draftsman because there wasn't enough work in house.  They also consistently did low or no-profit work for Xavier University in the hopes they'd be thrown a big high-profile project. (Guess what, they never did! Shocker!)

Don't stay with stupid companies.

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Tebonas
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Reply #72 on: April 27, 2012, 05:16:34 AM

That doesn't make sense. 40 hours overtime cost more than another employee who works the same 40 hours at a standard rate.
IainC
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Reply #73 on: April 27, 2012, 05:23:12 AM

This was the exact reason that I left GW. There was a team of three of us doing everything for WD except pre-press reprography - authoring, editing, photography, layout, the lot for a 12 section monthly. We were routinely pulling 60+ hour weeks to get everything done on time. There was an ad for a new person but the requirements were ridiculously out of whack with the salary so, surprise, no-one who met the requirements wanted to take a 70% pay cut. One morning we were told that all overtime from now on was being cancelled, the only extra hours we'd be paid for was the weekend a month we spent at the printers proofing sheets as they came off the press. We asked how the magazine was going to hit deadlines if there was no overtime and were told that if the deadlines were missed we'd all be fired.

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Kageru
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Reply #74 on: April 27, 2012, 05:42:07 AM

That doesn't make sense. 40 hours overtime cost more than another employee who works the same 40 hours at a standard rate.

You assume it's paid over-time. I've been told (by what was then a very large US multi-national) the first 7.5 hours of over-time are free. And the one game company simply called 50 hours a standard working week (over-time was on top of that).

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Surlyboi
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Reply #75 on: April 27, 2012, 05:50:37 AM

Most companies pay you a flat salary and you don't get overtime, anyway. At least, that's how it's been for me. The only exception was when I was consulting. Then I booked a fuckton of overtime.

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
Merusk
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Reply #76 on: April 27, 2012, 06:33:56 AM

I was hourly and paid overtime but you all are failing to include the benefits, infrastructure and overhead costs of an additional employee.  That's more than just paying a junior staff member 1.5x for 10 hours.  

However, what Surlyboi points out has been true at other companies.  You're a professional so you're paid a flat salary - often without bonuses linked to anything other than company profitability, which means you're paying even more to hire on another professional.

The first 7.5 hours of OT are NOT free.  That's called lying and knowing people will believe you because why would you lie or totally misunderstanding how the rules work.  They're only 'free' if you let the employee take those 7.5 hours as compensatory time off the next work week of the same pay period. http://ppspublishers.com/ez/html/040610txtb.html
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 06:38:03 AM by Merusk »

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Murgos
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Reply #77 on: April 27, 2012, 07:58:50 AM

I had a salaried position which, at one point, payed overtime as long as you had worked more than 88 hours in a two week period.  87.5 hours and you got nothing, 88 and you got 8 hours of overtime.  Which of course meant that if you had to work more than a few hours overtime you made damn sure you worked 8.  Like I said though, it was salaried so it was really just a bonus anyway and doesn't change your exempt status.

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Lantyssa
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Reply #78 on: April 27, 2012, 08:34:53 AM

I've always been salaried, so I've never gotten overtime.  Never gotten bonuses either.

I will do overtime as a part of an emergency.  If the company has an 'emergency' every week, it's not one, it's bad management and my response is, "plan better".  You get 40 hours.  If I'm feeling generous, productive, or just want to finish up a project you might get more, but never, ever, bank on it.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
HaemishM
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Reply #79 on: April 27, 2012, 11:16:05 AM

That doesn't make sense. 40 hours overtime cost more than another employee who works the same 40 hours at a standard rate.

Not in this country. That extra employee costs the company more because: 1) they have to pay payroll taxes for a 5th employee (I think it's usually about 8-15% of what that person makes), 2) benefits cost them (companies who offer health plans often pay 50% or more of the premiums so that the employee isn't footing the entire bill - my company pays most of my health insurance premium and I pay like $20/month), 3) plus any other benefits they offer, and 4) any expenses for having another person there (another computer, another set of software, etc.).

Why pay all that when you can just grind people down to nothing with extra overtime work? They're replaceable, after all - until they aren't. A lot of companies in this country really don't realize how incredibly valuable some individuals are until those individuals are making money for someone else.

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Reply #80 on: April 27, 2012, 11:21:50 AM

I just had my annual performance review and one of their comments was that I don't spend enough overtime in the office, which makes them think I'm not learning.

Any company that expects overtime and *dings you for it during a performance review* is retarded. Find a new job!

Crazy - we're specifically barred from saying anything like that in our reviews.

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Reply #81 on: April 27, 2012, 11:38:54 AM

I just had my annual performance review and one of their comments was that I don't spend enough overtime in the office, which makes them think I'm not learning.

Any company that expects overtime and *dings you for it during a performance review* is retarded. Find a new job!

Crazy - we're specifically barred from saying anything like that in our reviews.

Yeah, I don't know labor laws that well, but it sounds a lot like something that opens you up to potential liability.

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Xanthippe
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Reply #82 on: April 27, 2012, 11:42:04 AM

Any company that understands the literal uselessness of crunchtime and gets the million man hour myth is a good company.

I just had my annual performance review and one of their comments was that I don't spend enough overtime in the office, which makes them think I'm not learning.

I read the Valve employee handbook the next day and was sad.

I am sure looking forward to the economy improving so that people don't have to put up with this kind of shit. I hate exploiters.
Merusk
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Reply #83 on: April 27, 2012, 12:10:59 PM

My story above was 14 years ago; it's not the economy, that's American corporate culture.  It's just that tech sectors are just getting old enough to have more MBAs involved in exec positions than techhies.   You'll be seeing more of this now that the economy forced them to do it and they realize they CAN do it, not less.

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NiX
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Reply #84 on: April 27, 2012, 01:08:17 PM

Any company that expects overtime and *dings you for it during a performance review* is retarded. Find a new job!
I'm working on it. Started updating my resume the next day and going to spend a day with a friend making sure it's good enough to GTFO as soon as I can.

Did you read it at work?  awesome, for real
Yup!

Yeah, I don't know labor laws that well, but it sounds a lot like something that opens you up to potential liability.
I'm in Canada and they actually have outlines for specific industries in regards to hours worked and what you're entitled to. Somehow, as a Business Analyst, I fall into the I.T./Software industry. This entitles my employer to requesting overtime and since I'm salaried I don't get overtime pay.

Edit: This is posted in our lunch room...
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 01:17:37 PM by NiX »
HaemishM
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Reply #85 on: April 27, 2012, 01:20:04 PM

I love how managers and supervisors get eating periods covered, but not IT people. NERDS DO NOT NEED LUNCH, DAMN YOU!

Daeven
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Reply #86 on: April 27, 2012, 02:26:24 PM

That doesn't make sense. 40 hours overtime cost more than another employee who works the same 40 hours at a standard rate.

Full time employees in At-Will work states who work 'overtime' aren't working Overtime. They're working extra hours. So while you're statement is true for Longshoremen, generally not so much for White-collar IT folk.

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Soulflame
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Reply #87 on: April 28, 2012, 06:35:03 PM

Plus the cost of mistakes from 10 hours of overtime per week from four people over the longterm will be very very large.
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Reply #88 on: April 29, 2012, 12:24:09 AM

I love how managers and supervisors get eating periods covered, but not IT people. NERDS DO NOT NEED LUNCH, DAMN YOU!

The Cheeto dust on their fingers serves as the perfect at-desk source of sustenance.

jakonovski
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Reply #89 on: April 29, 2012, 03:23:05 AM

I've often wondered why there's so much ignorance of the fact that by and large, human beings can only do about 6 hours' worth of effective work per day.
Margalis
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Reply #90 on: April 29, 2012, 05:26:56 AM

I've often wondered why there's so much ignorance of the fact that by and large, human beings can only do about 6 hours' worth of effective work per day.

Probably because that's not true. Sure, working people 14 hours a day 6 days a week is crazy extreme and counter-productive, but 6 hours is extreme in the other direction. I honestly can't say I've ever met an engineer or artist who noticeably falls off after 6 hours. If anything at 6 hours a good programmer who is immersed in a tricky issue is raring to keep going.

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jakonovski
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Reply #91 on: April 29, 2012, 06:51:37 AM

I've often wondered why there's so much ignorance of the fact that by and large, human beings can only do about 6 hours' worth of effective work per day.

Probably because that's not true. Sure, working people 14 hours a day 6 days a week is crazy extreme and counter-productive, but 6 hours is extreme in the other direction. I honestly can't say I've ever met an engineer or artist who noticeably falls off after 6 hours. If anything at 6 hours a good programmer who is immersed in a tricky issue is raring to keep going.

We may work 8 hour days, but we practically never do work all the time. You go and get coffee, chat with cow orkers, surf the web or whatever. At the end of the day there won't consistently be any more than that 6 hours (not 100% sure of that number though, cos it's been a while  since I read about it) worth of results, because diminishing returns kicks in.

edit: there's huge individual variation of course.
edit2: a lot hangs on the definition of work too, here I'm talking about stuff where productivity can be easily quantified.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 07:00:14 AM by jakonovski »
Margalis
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Reply #92 on: April 29, 2012, 07:03:37 AM

We may work 8 hour days, but we practically never do work all the time. You go and get coffee, chat with cow orkers, surf the web or whatever. At the end of the day there won't consistently be any more than that 6 hours (not 100% sure of that number though, cos it's been a while  since I read about it) worth of results, because diminishing returns kicks in.

You seem to be confusing how much effective work people *can* do with how much effective work most people tend to do. Sure, I've worked with people who waste a lot of time at work and probably put in 6 hours at most of real effort, but that's not because they can't do more, it's just because they are unmotivated.

I would totally believe that the average worker puts in at most 6 hours of good work a day. But there is no way in hell I believe that 6 hours is some sort of actual scientific limit and after that you start to be ineffective. I've worked 14 hour days where I was productive for all 14 hours, and I'm not some sort of crazy outlier. Again, I don't think I've worked with a single engineer or artist who couldn't do more than 6 hours of good work in a day.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 07:05:32 AM by Margalis »

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jakonovski
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Reply #93 on: April 29, 2012, 07:07:24 AM

The key is in the word consistently. As video game companies like to demonstrate, perpetual crunch time does not work. They do not get equivalent results any faster than companies where people work shorter days.

edit: even on a general level, American or Japanese companies do not have an edge over European ones even though they have longer hours.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 07:15:16 AM by jakonovski »
Severian
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Reply #94 on: April 29, 2012, 11:53:32 AM

This article at Salon probably has more than you want to read on the subject, but here's an excerpt:

Quote
Evan Robinson, a software engineer with a long interest in programmer productivity summarized this history in a white paper he wrote ("Why Crunch Mode Doesn't Work") for the International Game Developers’ Association in 2005. The original paper contains a wealth of links to studies conducted by businesses, universities, industry associations and the military that supported early-20th-century leaders as they embraced the short week. “Throughout the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, these studies were apparently conducted by the hundreds,” writes Robinson; “and by the 1960s, the benefits of the 40-hour week were accepted almost beyond question in corporate America.
...
So, to summarize: Adding more hours to the workday does not correlate one-to-one with higher productivity. Working overtime is unsustainable in anything but the very short term. And working a lot of overtime creates a level of burnout that sets in far sooner, is far more acute, and requires much more to fix than most bosses or workers think it does.
Quinton
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Reply #95 on: April 29, 2012, 07:14:45 PM

There's a huge difference between 50 hour weeks and 60+ hour weeks.

9-10 hours a day is actually somewhat sustainable, especially if you buy into the project/product, are excited about the work, and are motivated to make it go.  Of course there's individual variation, etc -- if you have 1-2 hours a day of commute on top of that, etc, ouch.

Pushing beyond that, or working every weekend starts falling over pretty quickly in terms of inefficiency and burnout.  Doing that for more than a couple weeks just before ship or whatnot rapidly becomes a disaster.

Of course also being compensated in a way that's realistic for the extra time is nice as well.  It can't fix the problem that it's not sustainable long-term, but it at least helps you not feel like you're being totally ripped off as a mid-level "salaried professional" effectively making crap per-hour.
Fordel
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Reply #96 on: April 29, 2012, 09:13:06 PM

I've never seen someone who constantly works weekends and/or 9-10 hour days be anything but a miserable cranky asshole.

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Reply #97 on: April 29, 2012, 09:17:59 PM

I've never seen someone who constantly works weekends and/or 9-10 hour days be anything but a miserable cranky asshole.

I work 6 days every week between my two jobs (and 10 hours 4 days during the week) and I am less of a cranky bastard than I was before! Though if I could make close to what I make with both jobs just doing one job I would be happier.

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Margalis
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Reply #98 on: April 29, 2012, 10:22:28 PM

The key is in the word consistently. As video game companies like to demonstrate, perpetual crunch time does not work.

Working more than 6 hours at a time is not "perpetual crunch" or anything close to it.

To me a 9 hour day is perfectly normal. That's 8 hours plus lunch. If I'm in the groove I often work longer. A while ago I worked from 10 AM to 9 PM for a long stint, and it was fine. I would aim to leave around 8 but then I had loose ends to tie up or was in the middle of something and would keep going. I'm the type of person that gets a second wind often. I worked that many hours because I had a lot of stuff to get done but also because I was working on fun stuff. Some things just take time to do, especially if you have stuff like compile and build (both code and assets) times that are basically fixed.

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Quinton
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Reply #99 on: April 29, 2012, 11:19:10 PM

I've never seen someone who constantly works weekends and/or 9-10 hour days be anything but a miserable cranky asshole.

It can be situational.  During the first year and change at Danger when we were going from zero-to-product (hardware, service, OS, apps, the works), much of the team (myself included) worked 10+ hour days and often weekends most of the time and generally had a great time.  Small team.  Shared vision of the product.  Drive to get it into production and peoples' hands.  It remains one of the high points of my career though it certainly was a huge pile of work. 

Of course the crazy startup thing often works well if you're invested in the experience and it's not "just a job."  It still may not be entirely healthy from a work-life balance standpoint but it can be a lot of fun.  Could I keep doing that year after year? Not really.  Did I enjoy it?  Hell yeah.  Would I hate it under other circumstances?  Quite likely.

There's a big difference between working crazy hours because you're excited to build something awesome and working crazy hours because management has informed you that the beatings will continue until morale improves...
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Reply #100 on: April 30, 2012, 01:58:42 AM

The key is in the word consistently. As video game companies like to demonstrate, perpetual crunch time does not work.

Working more than 6 hours at a time is not "perpetual crunch" or anything close to it.

To me a 9 hour day is perfectly normal. That's 8 hours plus lunch. If I'm in the groove I often work longer. A while ago I worked from 10 AM to 9 PM for a long stint, and it was fine. I would aim to leave around 8 but then I had loose ends to tie up or was in the middle of something and would keep going. I'm the type of person that gets a second wind often. I worked that many hours because I had a lot of stuff to get done but also because I was working on fun stuff. Some things just take time to do, especially if you have stuff like compile and build (both code and assets) times that are basically fixed.

It's not about being present at work, it's how much work gets done, on average, and not by individuals. You're clearly an industrious individual and/or someone who hasn't really thought about what goes on during an average workday, moment by moment.

 Also, even if you don't agree on the specifics, the concept is simple: diminishing returns as the workday gets longer.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 02:11:32 AM by jakonovski »
Ironwood
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Reply #101 on: April 30, 2012, 03:49:54 AM

Speaking for me and me alone, I'd like Margalis to never, ever be allowed to be my spokesman for my working day or my productivity.

 why so serious?

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bhodi
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Reply #102 on: April 30, 2012, 11:36:14 AM

Since it's topical, my old boss worked at Amazon for 4 years, left around 2005. This is what he had to say:

Quote
Every group lost their lowest performer every year and the position was immediately backfilled. In theory, it sucks. In practice, there was always at least one person per team who was entirely burned out. It was a little more humane than "we've gotten all we can out of you, you're fired" but that's the essence of it. Orgs like amazon/google/microsoft/et al have different recruiting dynamics, it's not like [mutual workplace], where it was hard to even find resumes from decent people. We always had more good people applying than we had room for. Back then, we worked a standard 96-hour week (6x16). Our employment agreements said '40 hours per week or more as required to meet corporate objectives' or some such thing, but culturally we worked 10am-2am 6-7 days a week. Amazon wasn't a warm, fuzzy place to work.
Pennilenko
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Reply #103 on: April 30, 2012, 11:52:55 AM

Since it's topical, my old boss worked at Amazon for 4 years, left around 2005. This is what he had to say:

Quote
Every group lost their lowest performer every year and the position was immediately backfilled. In theory, it sucks. In practice, there was always at least one person per team who was entirely burned out. It was a little more humane than "we've gotten all we can out of you, you're fired" but that's the essence of it. Orgs like amazon/google/microsoft/et al have different recruiting dynamics, it's not like [mutual workplace], where it was hard to even find resumes from decent people. We always had more good people applying than we had room for. Back then, we worked a standard 96-hour week (6x16). Our employment agreements said '40 hours per week or more as required to meet corporate objectives' or some such thing, but culturally we worked 10am-2am 6-7 days a week. Amazon wasn't a warm, fuzzy place to work.

Amazon sounds like it contracts employees into damn near slavery.

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bhodi
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Reply #104 on: April 30, 2012, 11:56:48 AM

Well, he also bought a house with his stock after he left. FTR, he was a technical manager / coder, not a random guy in a warehouse. He left because he wanted a better work/life balance and because he had a kid.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 12:08:50 PM by bhodi »
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