Monday, April 16, 2012

40 hours a week is enough

CNN has an interesting article out today regarding Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The article goes on to explain how and why it is OK to have a tech job, yet only work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is something I have been thinking about, not only based on what I see others post about on Twitter, but my own experiences.

I've come to the conclusion that outside of a few exceptions, there is no good reason to work beyond 40 hours a week. It doesn't matter if you are the CEO of a major corporation, in an entry level position or somewhere in-between.

Those exceptions could include some kind of disaster to the place of work (fire, flood or other natural disaster) and many many hours are needed to get the business back up and running. Or there is a chance to add a client or other business to your company and you want to make a great first impression.

But these should be exceptions and not the rule. If you are putting in more than 40 hours a week, you need to examine why. Is your boss being unreasonable? Do you need to hire more people to handle an increased work load? Can you not trust the people who work for you and as a result, you need to put in more hours (and replace those you can't trust)?

If you are working more than 40 hours a week on a regular basis, what is that doing to your life outside of work? It's widely reported that people need eight hours of sleep per night, so right there, that is 1/3 of the day. Then you have to not only get to the job, but get home (assuming you don't work at home). After that, what about family life, friends, and anything else just to maintain a normal sense of balance.

The more you work, the more all of that gets cut into. A quick google search will tell you about the lives and families that have been destroyed because someone worked too much.

Think about it. You only live once. Do you want to live to work, or work to live?

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