You Still Don’t Work 80 Hours Per Week!

I have to say one of my most read posts, ever, and one that I take the most crap about is –What would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week? People actually take this post as a personal attack to their work ethic.  So, I’m here to say – I still don’t believe you!  And, now I have research to back up how you don’t really work 80 hours in a week.  From Fast Company -The Truth About How Much Workaholics Actually Work:

“A study published in the June 2011 Monthly Labor Review that compared estimated workweeks with time diaries reported that people who claimed their “usual” workweeks were longer than 75 hours were off, on average, by about 25 hours. You can guess in which direction. Those who claimed that a “usual” workweek was 65–74 hours were off by close to 20 hours. Those claiming a 55–64-hour workweek were still about 10 hours north of the truth. Subtracting these errors, you can see that most people top out at fewer than 60 work hours per week. Many professionals in so-called extreme jobs work about 45–55 hours a week. Those are numbers I can attest to from time logs I’ve seen over the years. I’ve given speeches at companies known for their sweatshop hours and had up-and-comers keep time logs for me. Their recorded weeks tend to hover around 60 hours–and that’s for focused, busy weeks with no half days, vacation days, or dentist appointments, and, most important, for weeks that people are willing to share with colleagues. We live in a competitive world, and boasting about the number of hours we work has become a way to demonstrate how devoted we are to our jobs.

That would be funny, except that numbers have consequences. If you think you’re working 80 hours per week, you’ll make different choices in your attempts to optimize them than if you know you usually work 55.”

Look – I get you work hard and you work long – but, I also get all of us think we work longer than we actually do!  It’s not an attack – it’s just the truth.  The same goes for all of you out their working 40 hours per week, when you only have about 20 hours of work – you find ways to stretch 20 hours of work into 40 hours of pay!

Ultimately, we shouldn’t be talking about hours, damn Unions!, we should be talking about results.  I don’t care if you work 10 hours or 100 hours – I, truly, only care about what you get done in that time.  We still have too many leaders who worry about hours and watch and see who leaves ‘first’ and who stays ‘late’.  The reality is – it probably has no bearing at all on their performance – and if anything, probably has a negative influence.

Results.  Set the desired result and manage to that.  If you have those not meeting the result – then you manage that issue (which might include the need to work more hours!).  I know, I know the girls from ROWE will love hearing this – and think they converted me – but they haven’t.  While I really like ROWE – it still doesn’t work for every organization.  Ugh, please don’t let Cali and Jody see this!

4 thoughts on “You Still Don’t Work 80 Hours Per Week!

  1. Ive work in a factory for 22years. $20/hr for 5years and I’ve grossed over $70 four times & $82k one year. Hitting 3100-3200hrs/year. With the way the schedule is laid out, I can use my 10 vacation days and have 5 weeks off. Plus, we’re usually (~17/22years) laid off 1or2 weeks in July (auto industry). Do the math 3200/46weeks= 69.5hrs on the weeks I’m not on vacation or laid off. When I work 7/week, that’s 84hrs. I’ve done many 20day stretches
    There are co-workers who put in more hours than I do. It may be common for people to exaggerate the hours they work. but We ARE out there.

  2. “I still don’t believe you! And, now I have research to back up how you don’t really work 80 hours in a week”

    So you researched me…personally? You followed me around with a stopwatch? I can say I researched blog writters and have proof they are aliens….doesn’t mean all of them are – just some.

    Sorry bud, I do work 80 a week.

  3. Great article! The 40 hour work week is about as popular as typewriters and working 80 hours is as popular as the Palm Pilot. However, if these are the technologies you use, then you should still be working 40-80 hours a week. Nice to know people that work 80 hours would make great fiction novelists and their are facts to back it up! Couldn’t agree more, a results based culture means a happier culture. Cheers!

  4. Hey Tim,

    This is absolutely true. I find that for most industries people brag and inflate their hours to make them look dedicated and appear important. I had a stint at a grocery store chain where the expectation was to work at minimum 55 hours a week. This is common in the retail industry.

    Each day that I got to work at 7 AM, there was already an office full of people at HQ so one day I decided to get there at 4:30 AM only to find people actually working in the office. Holy cow!

    By working all these crazy hours that my boss thought were important, they were making me look very bad. I wasn’t invested in the company and willing to spend 80 a week for some job that didn’t care about me or my family.

    Unless you are managing a store location where at least one key carrier has to be there, it shouldn’t matter how many hours to work. It matters that you get the job done, efficiently and meeting expectations.


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