is 8-6 the new 9-5?

A reader writes:

I wanted to get a perspective from you and your readers on whether you think a majority of businesses and industries are now expecting longer workdays from their employees.

Colloquially, “the 9 to 5” has been a phrase to discribe full-time jobs conducted during normal business hours. Obviously all individual offices will vary, but based on my own experience and the experiences of people I know, it seems like “the 8 to 6” would now be a better descriptor. I have held multiple positions over the past 10 years where I was expected to be in the office at 8 and not leave until 6. These hours didn’t account for unpaid lunch time, either. I almost always ate lunch at my desk while working on something or during a “working lunch” meeting (which is different from a “lunch and learn”; these were mandatory weekly meetings where normal business was conducted).

From talking to friends and family, I am far from alone in this experience. Is the 10-hour workday and 50-hour work week the new normal?

For some people. As you point out, there’s tons of variation.

Some people do indeed still work jobs that are truly 9-5. That’s still very common. The assumption is usually that they’ll have a half hours for lunch, so they’re really working 37.5 hours a week.

But other schedules have become more common too, and you’re right that many of them are longer. 9-6 isn’t unusual, and neither is 8-5, and lots of other variations. The thinking behind those is often that they include an hour for lunch — so you’re still working eight hours, but the finish time is nine hours after your start time because of lunch. I question this reasoning, because tons of people with this schedule don’t actually take a full hour for lunch, but that’s where it came from.

And of course, many people routinely work longer hours than that.

Additionally, even in jobs where the standard hours really are 9-5, some people might come in at 7 and leave at 3 or work some other form of a flexible schedule.

Like so many other things, it really depends on the job and the workplace.

I do think, though, that “a 9-5 job” has taken on a cultural meaning that doesn’t strictly mean “a job that starts at 9 a.m. and ends up 5 p.m.” Its cultural usage has changed to mean “a professional office job with fairly standard business hours, Monday through Friday.”

As for the broader picture on how many hours people are working:  The average work week for full-time employees in the U.S. is nearly 47 hours, according to a Gallup report released last year; that’s held pretty steady for the last 14 years, but — unsurprisingly — it was lower before that.  That said, 42% of people work 40 hours a week, so that’s still pretty common too.

{ 217 comments… read them below }

  1. KT

    I dream of a 9-5 :)

    In my pharma job, my hours were 7:30-6, then logging in from home at night for 2-3 hours…and on weekends…

    Now that I switched to non-profit, I’m down to 7:30-5, checking email for just 5 minutes at night, and not at all on weekends….PROGRESS!

    1. bridget

      Same – even after switching to government work, I’m 8-6 minimum with occasional evening/weekend hours (and before, in private practice, I was 8-6 minimum with a LOT of evenings and weekends). A true 9-5 sounds to my ears like a luxurious part-time schedule. Think of how much stuff I could get done during the week!

    2. shorty

      i’m still in pharma management, and working 8a-6p then 2-4 hrs at night, every night. i push back on weekends unless absolutely emergency, not sure if that’s going to continue to be possible as i “move up” – the senior leaders seem to work & travel 24/7! i assume the salary/benefits are worth it for them, but not for me – the hours are why i am now looking to move into something more “life-work balance”-friendly.

      Is “life-work balance” even possible for post-MBA professional??

      1. Hillary

        Yes, at small companies. The pay isn’t as good, but I’ll take my 45 hour work week any day. Now I just need to find a place closer to the office so I don’t spend ten hours a week driving.

    3. Ad Astra

      At my worst job, my hours were 7-4:30ish, plus WFH throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. No thanks.

  2. TootsNYC

    When the movie “9 to 5” came out, my mother was a little scornful of the title, because she didn’t know anyone who worked 9 to 5. They worked 8:30 to 5:30. Or 8 to 5. Or 9 to 6.
    For a 40-hour week.

    Even then, “9 to 5” had that figurative/colloquial meaning.
    It wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I found anyone who worked 9 to 5, literally.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian

      Yeah, my “9 to 5” job is 8:00 – 5:00 with a one-hour unpaid lunch. I’m hourly and not permitted to get overtime, so I leave when my hours are up. If I get my 40 hours in early, I take off early enough on Friday afternoon to keep from going over (usually around 3:00 or so).

      1. Jennifer

        Seconded. I’ve never heard of a “9-5” for real, ever. I know of a few 7-4’s and that’s about it for “variety.”

          1. Autumn

            Yep. My job is 9-5, with an hour paid lunch. As in, we are expected work 35 hours a week. It’s awesome. I do occasionally work late or through lunch, but not terribly often.

            Interestingly, we are also expected to volunteer at a certain number of evening/weekend events. Although I don’t love this, I mind it much less than I would in a job where I was expected to do that on top of a 45+ workweek. Funny, how treating your employees well makes them more likely to be willing to do extra stuff sometimes…..

            1. Koko

              Same here – 9-5 core hours with an hour lunch for a 35-hour week. But also, nobody really watches the clock here. Yeah, I work in the evenings sometimes, and I work through lunch sometimes. But it’s always because it’s either 1) a true emergency that doesn’t happen often, or 2) I didn’t work as hard as I should have during my core hours. They also don’t care if I show up 20 minutes late some mornings or duck out early for a haircut once in a while, because I get all my work done one way or another. And in return, I don’t mind having to log on from home when it’s truly necessary to hold up my end of the bargain.

              Like you say, funny how it works. Treat your employees like adults who can manage their own obligations, and they’ll do it.

        1. M

          I work 37.5 hours per week, and I can make my own schedule as long as it’s between 8:30 and 6:00 or so. I do 8:30-4:45 with a 45 minute lunch, but I could do 9-5 with a 30 minute lunch if I wanted to. It’s definitely a nice perk.

          1. Julia

            Same amount of work, but completely unflexible. Like, I have to clock in by 8:45 and clock out at 17:15 and take my lunch at exactly 12:30 until 13:45. I wish I could cut my break short and go home earlier, but we’re needed on site until 5, so…

        2. manybellsdown

          Mr. Bells has “core hours” of 10-6; you’re expected to be in the office during those hours. Some people come in at 9 so they can leave right at 6, some people go in at 10 and leave at 7. Lunch is an hour (for salaried employees, anyway). Working from home is occasionally an option.

          But, he works in video games which have … interesting hours around releases. They’ve got a big release coming out in about a month and he’s planning to be at the office for 24 hours straight that day.

      2. T3k

        Same. My hours are a bit different (usually don’t start until 10 and I don’t take a break for lunch, so I truly work an 8 hour shift) but as my job pays very little and can’t afford overtime, I put in my 40 hours per week and leave.

          1. T3k

            Oh no, it’s completely voluntary. We’re never busy so I always find time to eat whenever I want to. I just sit at my desk and eat and occasionally work while I’m eating.

        1. MinB

          Same for me. 10-6, no lunch break (voluntarily – I’m never hungry enough during the day for lunch, so I might snack while working, but otherwise I value going home on time more than the lunch break).

          1. MinB

            And I’m non-exempt, so it’s exactly 40 hours/week. It’ll be interesting to see how my small nonprofit handles the DOL exemption rule changes because the few exempt staff members we have are constantly working overtime and getting called in for things at night/over the weekend but they don’t make more than $45K/year.

      3. Helka

        Ugh, I’m jealous! I wish they let us do that at my job… instead, you stay for the full day Friday, get a very small amount of OT pay for your overage, and get a lecture from your boss about sticking to a schedule better.

    2. The IT Manager

      I do not think 9-5 was ever standard for most employees. Normal full time is considered a 40 hour work week. 9-5 is 40 total hours per week with no lunch break! Either those people working 9-5 didn’t have a lunch break or they weren’t working 40 hours.

      I think the 9-5 might have once been common open hours for many businesses (when women didn’t work and could run errands during the day), but I suspect the people that worked them had a lunch break but added extra time at the start and end of the day for set-up and clean-up.

      1. The IT Manager

        Either those people working 9-5 didn’t have a lunch break or they weren’t working 40 hours
        or they are getting a paid half hour lunch which, despite not being unheard of , is shocking to me. Why are the evil corporations paying people for time when they aren’t doing work for them?

        1. Charlotte Collins

          Because you’re more effective and productive with regular breaks… So the break time can be considered work time as that 15 minutes of rest translates to ROI.

      2. UKAnon

        Well, in the UK a 35 hour week is still pretty normal – though 37.5 and 40 are both becoming more common – so 9-5 with an hour lunch is a normal working week.

        1. carlotta

          I don’t know… I think most UK people I know are working longer than that. I also worked more weekends than not (at events, or on special launches which happened so often it was hardly special, for no extra pay or lieu) until I switched jobs this year.
          Now I work 9-6 or 6.30 most days, and rarely take an hour out for lunch. However we often leave early on a Friday which is nice.

          1. HKM

            Yeah, where I’m moving to I’ll be 9.30-6.30 officially, but realistically I’m probably going to be working until around 8pm.

      3. Lily in NYC

        I’m always shocked when I look at job posting for executive assistant positions. There are tons of EA jobs in finance (especially the trading floor) that list the hours for the job as 7am – 7pm with FREE LUNCH AND DINNER (meaning you can’t even leave the damn office for a meal). They generally pay really well but there’s just no way I could hack those hours. I’d be miserable.

    3. Ad Astra

      See, that’s interesting. I had always wondered how people could work 9-5 and still hit 40 hours. I guess the idea is it’s a paid lunch, but even then you’re not actually working 40 hours if you take 5 hours a week to eat.

      The Midwest tends to do things earlier than the coasts (local news is at 10, not 11), so 8-5 or 8:30-5:30 is the norm. I know people who work second shift or other nontraditional schedules, but I don’t know anyone who’s 9-6.

      1. Vicki

        Yes, but, the thing is… no one is EVER working 40 hours/week. People eat lunch (paid lunch). People get breaks. People use the restroom. People walk away from their desks and go to a meeting or get coffee.

        Salaried employees take a walk around the building.

        People lean back and stretch or chat to a co-worker.

        No One “works” steadily from the moment they come into the office until the moment they leave.

        (For many of us, as salaried employees, on-site time counts.)

    4. Liane

      Mine is 7am – 3pm, for 7hr/day. But we usually work Mon. – Sat. for 42/week. (Hourly position)

      1. Evil

        Oh, my friend works afternoons at a call center and when he started he worked 3-10 Monday to Saturday. Interesting.

    5. doreen

      I live in NY and most people I’ve known worked 9-5 ( or 8-4 or 7-3) for the most part , but it’s going to vary by field. There are all sorts of variations – the 35 hour workweek with a half-hour lunch, the 35 hour workweek with an hour lunch, the 40 hour week where you don’t get a lunch where you are completely relieved of work and can leave the building but you are able to eat while remaining available to work, and the one I haven’t seen mentioned before – the “paid” lunch that wasn’t really paid. This involved hourly employees being paid 40x their hourly rate, but being expected to work only 35 or 37.5 hours regularly. If for some reason they had to work a little longer ( for example, a bank employee who didn’t balance and had to work later than usual to find the discrepancy) they weren’t paid extra until they actually worked more than 40 hours.

  3. Stephanie

    My friend works in higher end fundraising and he works 9-5 officially (37.5 hours with a half-hour lunch), although he travels regularly.

    FT people at my company are officially scheduled at 50 hours, however.

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      As exempt employees we are told our expectation is 45 hours and that we shouldn’t leave for lunch.

  4. Buggy Crispino

    I have an “8-5” salaried exempt job and realistically I probably average 43-45 hours per week. My arrival times vary based on traffic, but on good days I’m usually there by 7:30 (not so good days slightly before 8 and on terrible days 8:15-8:20). I normally just start working when I get there; I don’t hang out waiting for the clock to strike 8. I typically leave between 5:15 and 5:30.

    One thing that I DO do for myself is to almost always take a full hour lunch break and actually leave the office. Even if I just drive down the street to the park to eat crackers or an apple, I treat it the same as the days that I actually go to some kind of restaurant to eat a meal. I’m just one of those people that needs that recharge time in the middle of the day. If I’m swamped and on a deadline I’ll take a shorter lunch, but if my deadline is COB then I would actually prefer to still take an hour for lunch and stay an hour later in the evening.

    1. Cordelia Naismith

      Me, too. Every office-type job I’ve ever had has been 8-5, and I’ve always taken my full hour for lunch unless it was an unusually busy, crunch time type situation.

    2. Elizabeth West

      I used to do that at Exjob, because I really needed to get away from the front desk. But now that I’m off it, I don’t mind eating at my desk and working through. I take stair climb breaks (everyone else walks outside, but I don’t like getting hot) and I get up and walk around regularly.

      People here work varied schedules, so there is always someone coming and going all hours of the day. Many people leave at lunch. I might do that if I lived closer and could go home and eat.

      1. INFJ

        I love eating at my desk and then taking a “lunch break” to take a walk outside! (I also do the occasional walk IN the building, too.)

  5. Dasha

    Curious, how many hours do other AAM readers work a week? I would say I work 42 to 45 hours a week. I check my emails before work, weekends, and evenings but it’s usually nothing major. I also, maybe take a lunch once a month, usually I eat at my desk and read AAM.

    1. bridget

      Government law job: 50-55 (50 being the base required-in-office time)
      Private practice: 55-65, but occasionally up to 80 (but only 45 hours being the “official” required-in-office time)

      1. LawBee

        Hm. I think I would enjoy a government law job. Can I stay home more weeks than I travel? Right now, that is my dealbreaker, haha

    2. WorkingMom

      40 hours/week during my “slower” season, and probably average 50-55/week during my “busier” season – which is about 6 months of the year. I rarely eat lunch anywhere but my desk!

    3. Jules

      A few years ago I was doing the total workaholic – 9-7 in the office, no real lunchbreak, an hour in the morning before going in, a couple of hours in the evening, another couple of hours on weekends, it was a rare week when I logged less than 60 hours.

      After resigning that job and spending three weeks twitching, I realised that my family were right and I was working too hard. At my current job, I am in the office from 9.30-6.30 or 7 daily, but I always take at least an hour for lunch (which may be four 15 minute intervals over about 90 minutes, but always adds up to at least an hour) and I never check email etc on weekends or evenings. Everyone in the office knows that if they do need me outside normal working hours, I’m a phone call away (which I reinforce by actually picking up, always, no matter what I’m doing) and have therefore learned that the number of times they actually need to reach out to me is quite small – maybe a handful of calls a year.

      I totally encourage anyone who thinks their office hours are getting out of hand to try pushing back – it’s easier than you think.

    4. Stephanie

      I’m underemployed and work 27.5 hours/week. They’re very strict about that, so if I’ll just leave early at the end of the week if I run out of hours. I work swing or graveyard shift depending on what TPTB tell me. (What REM cycle? And yes, I’m looking around for normal/increased hours.) During our busy season, I think I’ll be around 50 hours/week. No work done outside the office, thankfully.

      In my former jobs, I usually worked 45-60 hours a week. (Deadline-heavy environments, so hours would vary depending on how much I had to do to meet a deadline.)

    5. Lore

      My pay is calculated on a 35-hour week, but I don’t think I’ve ever worked less than 40, and it’s usually more like 45. (I work 10 to 6 with an hour lunch, on paper, but most days are more like 9:30 to 6:30 with a half-hour lunch.) And I definitely check email nights/weekends–I work with so many outside contractors and freelancers and people not on my office schedule, that I risk delaying important decisions if I don’t check in.

    6. Honeybee

      I’d say I work around 40 to 45 hours a week, give or take. I do check my email in the morning before work and in the evenings after work but it’s just light stuff, very little actual work to do. But it also depends on what I have going on because if there’s a project I’m in the middle of or a product about to ship, the work can get crazier.

    7. overeducated and underemployed

      I’m part-time, but my workdays are 8:45-5:15 officially, and I’m usually working from about 8:30 to 5. (In my job, more time to get ready is more helpful than more time to finish up.) I have a mandatory hour lunch break, half paid, half not, regardless of whether I sit at my desk and keep working or go out and chat on the phone for an hour.

      1. overeducated and underemployed

        PS I am a non-exempt government employee so working late without explicit approval is NOT part of our organizational culture, it’s something you have to fill out a request form to do.

    8. Shell

      I work 8:30-5 and I’m home by 5:30 at the latest. Minus the lunch time, it’s a solid 40 hours a week. (I usually eat lunch at my desk so it’s a little fuzzy–I’m usually “off” and not doing work, but I’ll answer questions and take calls and do work if it’s urgent.)

      My last job was 8:30-4:30.

    9. Gene

      I’m non-exempt, so I work 40 hours per week almost all the time. Overtime is unusual, but when it’s needed, there’s not much flexibility (typically during emergency operations). My normal arrival time is about 0730 and I leave at 1600. There’s some flexibility there, if I arrive at 0745, I leave at 1615. We have a half hour unpaid lunch where we are not allowed to work and two, paid 15 minutes breaks. On our office, since we’re remote from anything, we typically meld those into an hour lunch.

    10. Librariana

      I am a college librarian. We work 8-4:30, with an hour break for lunch. We also have some support staff who work odd hours like 7-3:30 and some night staff who work 6- midnight. I used to work at a public library, and we worked either 9:30-5:00 or 1:30-9, with a half hour meal break.

    11. LaraW

      I work PT, 20 hours/week. I work at a non-profit, and everyone here works their scheduled hours for the most part.

    12. hermit crab

      Our regular full time salaried employees are supposed to log at least 44 hours per week, assuming there is enough billable work. We do have a lot of people who are on a less than 100% schedule, though, who are salaried at 36 hours, 32 hours, 28 hours, 24 hours, etc. We also have a “full time hourly” schedule where you work between 24 and 40 hours each week as needed (and get paid accordingly).

    13. A Fed

      Federal government here (non-US).

      I work 0800-1830, plus an hour or two at home in the evening.
      If things have gone a bit haywire, then it’s 3-4 hours in the evening plus weekends.

      If I had a dime for every time someone said “…but you work for the GOVERNMENT!” I’d be retired by now.

      1. Stephanie

        If I had a dime for every time someone said “…but you work for the GOVERNMENT!” I’d be retired by now.

        Been there. (I worked for the US Government.) I worked crazy hours at my government job. It’s all over the place with the government and heavily depends on which department or agency. Now my friend did have a federal government job where I think he worked maybe 30 hours a week.

        1. doreen

          I work for a state government and am required to work 37.5 hours a week. I’m usually in the office at least 40 , and if something is going on I might spend many more on the phone or emailing when I’m technically “off”. It definitely depends on what department or agency. My family of government workers has difficulty in understanding that my job is different from theirs – I’m a manager in an agency that has lots of unexpected emergencies and they all had non-management jobs in agencies that either have no emergencies or a very different sort.

    14. LawBee

      I can’t even tell you what my hours per week are, they vary so widely. If it’s a heavy travel week, then I include all those planes, trains, and automobiles hours as working (we’re contingency so there’s not a billing issue), so those weeks can be brutal, and I’m pulling in 12-15 hour days. If it’s a week where I can stay in the office and actually work (and surf AAM when I need a mental break), it’s probably between 30-40 hours a week. But my work email is always on, and I check it constantly. I have a hard rule that I don’t work Saturdays unless it is absolutely necessary, so if I have weekend work, I do it on Sundays.

      While I check and respond to email at home, I really make an effort not to bring work home with me. I value my home time a LOT, but also – I’m really abysmally bad at working at home. The cats demand attention, all my toys and distractions are there, and it’s my zen place. If I need to work out of the office, I’d rather go somewhere else, and not home.

    15. AVP

      I generally work 9:30-6, sitting at my desk and working through lunch and doing maybe 2 hrs per week outside those hours. (With occasional weeks where it goes way over that for travel or events.) So I’m around 45 in a normal week, upwards of 60 on bad ones.

    16. StudentPilot

      I’m a government employee (Canadian) and I work 7:40-4:30 Monday to Thursday, and 7:40-12:00 on Fridays, for 37.5 hours a week. My schedule isn’t the norm – I work “compressed hours” in our lingo. (I have a very independent job, so no coworkers are dependent on me to be at work on a Friday afternoon.) previously, I was 8 -4.

    17. Kathleen

      I’m one of those 37.5 hour week people. I work 8-4 and I’m really pretty grouchy about going beyond that too often (though I certainly don’t mind staying an extra 10-15 minutes to wrap up whatever I’m working on at the end of the day). Even though I’m exempt, if I have a meeting or event in the evening, I’ll take comp hours the next day or later in the week. My management is 100% okay with and encourages this.

      I’m curious, is an average work week of 40-50+ hours more of an American thing? I know a woman from France who only worked 35-hour weeks there, and I think based on that I’ve built this idea in my head that western Europe is a socialist utopia where working more than 40 hours is discouraged and everyone gets 6 weeks of paid vacation. I’m sure it varies by country, but I’m curious what attitudes about work are like on other parts of the world (not just Europe).

      1. miki

        37.5 hr/week, 7-3 (but always come 6:45ish) Love it. Non-exempt and frowned on taking overtime, so I’m out of work at 3:00 pm.

      2. De (Germany)

        I work 40 hours a week. Anything over that goes into an “overtime account”, and I use that for working less than 40 hours other weeks, for example when I have errands to run.

        In Germany, 21 days of vacation is the absolute minimum, and the average work day “should” not exceed 40 hours (I am too tired to look up what your rights are when you have to go over that on a regular basis, though).

      3. UKAnon

        UK wise, 35-40 is normal enough not to be stated up front; anything more and they usually mention it – mainly in an “opt out of the Working Time Directive” way. It’s also, iirc, stat 25 days holiday, and Christmas day is mandatory outside of critical services.

        1. Jules

          Actually 28 days, but your employer can count the 8 bank holidays (including Christmas day) in that total, if they want, as long as they pay you for them.

          I liked my last, international, employer that would allow you to work UK bank holidays in exchange for the day off on one of your home country’s bank holidays (as long as it was a straight one-for-one swap). Made it much easier to space those bank holidays across the year!

      4. Ad Astra

        40 hours is the standard for full-timers in the U.S., though the Affordable Care Act defines full-time as averaging more than 30 hours per week. For most types of professionals, 40 is the bare minimum. I don’t know anyone who considers themselves full-time and works less than 40, but I know tons of people who average 45 or 50.

        Before the Affordable Care Act, many companies (especially retail and service industry companies) would schedule employees for, like, 38 hours per week and classify them as part-time to avoid providing health insurance and other benefits. So the 30-hour rule is there to protect those types of workers, but I don’t really think of a 30-hour week as full-time. I worked 30 hours a week when I was in college.

        I would be so down with a 37.5/hr week.

        1. Honeybee

          I know a lot of nurses at hospitals where 32 hours is considered full-time, although most of them work 36 hours a week – 3 12-hour shifts.

        2. KR

          Unfortunately the 30 hour rule backfired for some part time employees. I can only work 29 hrs a week at my part time job, so I have to have two jobs to pay the bills when if I could get 35-38 hrs a week it would be plenty of time to do my job and I wouldn’t need the health care they’re offering. However, I understand that they have to budget like I’m taking my health care.

      5. Anna

        I’m working in Germany and have a 38 hour week. And there’s no way most of the employees are hitting 38 hours a week. We clock in and out when we arrive at work and from that time stamp ½ an hour is removed each day. So If I arrive at 9am and stay until 5pm, I am paid for 7.5hours that day. So it’s a little more than a 9-5.. BUT people often have breakfast in the café when they arrive, and take a coffee and cake break in the afternoon and also take an hour lunch (although I think we’re supposed to take 45min… but it’s not tracked really, and an hour or more happens pretty often).
        I also receive an email from the company when I go over 9.5 hrs in a day (maybe 10hrs- I can’t remember) to go home and enjoy my day. I actually think legally you’re not allowed to exceed this amount.
        Of course I imagine upper management puts in more hours than this, but in general work life balance is very respected.

        (& I feel like it would just add insult to injury here to mention the 6 weeks holiday….)

        1. Kathleen

          Actually this is excellent information (thanks to everyone). HU and I are actually moving to Germany in about six months for him to postdoc and me to attend grad school. The plan is to only stay there for a couple years or so, but I wonder if I can’t convince him to stay longer … (presuming, of course, we’d be able to find jobs and all)

    18. Accountant

      CPA in the tax department of a large regional public accounting firm. I work 40 hours a week 7 months of the year. During spring tax season (mid Jan-mid April) it’s typically 55-70, and fall tax season (mid August-mid October) is typically 50-55 with one or two 65 hour weeks.

    19. Joline

      I work 33.75 hours a week per my union contract. But instead of working that evenly over each day we do a compressed schedule I work 8-4:30 (with an hour unpaid lunch) for 7.5 hours a day, but then get every second Friday off. There’s some overtime during busy times but it isn’t excessive.

      It was one of my main reasons for taking the position.

    20. Rita

      8:30-5pm on paper, with 30 minutes for lunch. Usually I stay till 5:15-5:30pm. Maybe 1-2 a month I need to stay till 6pm. Every few months I stay till 7pm or later, usually if there’s a big campaign or conference or something coming up.

      I’d love to get in earlier, even though I can’t leave earlier (coverage), but I just can’t seem to drag myself out of bed early enough.

    21. T3k

      I work exactly 40 hours a week. My boss pays me an insultingly low amount and can’t afford overtime, so if I come in 15 mins. early, I live 15 mins. earlier than my usual leave time. If I had to stay over 10 mins. the previous day, I leave 10 mins. early the next day. And I mentally check out of doing anything work related when I leave until I check in the next work day.

    22. M

      State government. 37.5 hours per week with comp time up to 40. Overtime is highly discouraged, so I generally take time off before or after traveling or putting in more than one long day in a week.

    23. Persephone Mulberry

      I typically work 41-42.5 hours per week – my schedule is 8-4:30 with a 30 minute unpaid lunch, which I rarely take. I do not check my voicemail or email outside of work hours unless it’s an emergency, which has happened only a handful of times in three years (and then I have my manager log that time for me).

    24. k cat

      Right around 40, with the occasional 45 or so. I come in at 7:30 and leave at 4, and usually eat lunch at my desk while I read blogs. I do some work from home occasionally, but generally only fun, relaxing stuff (working on design concepts, color palettes, stuff like that).

      I’ve taken on some consulting lately which has added 5-10 hours to my week and it’s driving me nuts. I don’t know how people handle this in the long term.

      1. k cat

        It may be worth mentioning that my dad left for work at 7 in the morning, got home after 7, and worked most Saturdays and some Sundays. He also had a 1-1.5 hour commute. I barely saw him growing up, and am a bit bitter about it. This has greatly informed my job choices and where I live (I have a 2 mile commute).

        1. Honeybee

          Mine too. For a formative part of my childhood my father had a 1.5 hour commute each way, so I never saw him in the mornings (he’d already left for work before I got up for school) and then saw him for just a few hours in the evenings before I went to bed.

      2. Dr. Johnny Fever

        I’m very similar. I decided I could do my job many many times but I only had one chance to be there as my son grew up. I work 7 to 3-4, read AAM during lunch at my desk, and may work the occasional extra few hours for an important item or pull an all-nighter once a quarter for a release.

        I also have a 1 hr+ commute, so I negotiated for 2 days at home per week. Less time on the road, more family time. I think it’s a Hindu saying, that a rich life is not filled by money, objects and fame, but by family, friends, and love.

    25. OfficePrincess

      Most weeks are between 40-45 hours physically in the office, but I’m always getting texts, calls and emails in the evenings and on weekends. My usual schedule is coming in sometime between 6-9 and leaving somewhere between 4-6 M-F, with occasional Saturday and Sunday hours if something goes wrong. During our peak season (from about now until the end of the year) it’s more like 50-55+ hours each week. I usually work through lunch because of the way my days pace out. Some days I have downtime during the day, but I have things to do at the start and end of the day, so leaving early usually requires a fair bit of advance planning.

    26. Macedon

      Ten-hour days on the average, but anywhere between 10-14 h. Eight-hour days officially. Lunch hour allegedly included, but it’s culturally discouraged to take more than 15-20 minutes away from your station. Journo job, though – few go into it blind to the sched.

    27. UsedToDoSupport

      7:30 to 4pm weekdays, no travel to speak of, no overtime. I’m a manager in a local government job. I have to leave promptly at 4 daily to get to the gym to lift ridiculously heavy stuff. I am a powerlifter.

    28. AnotherHRPro

      In my US Corporate job, my typical work week for me is about 60 hours – sometimes more, sometimes less depending on what is going on. I also regularly check emails in the evening and on weekends.

    29. Cheddar2.0

      Exactly 40! 8-4:30 w/ 30 min unpaid lunch. Overtime is not allowed (right now) I’m salaried non-exempt.

    30. Kate

      I arrive between 8:30 and 9 and leave by 4:30, then usually work another 1-2 hours at night after my daughter is asleep. With a baby I have found it near impossible to work on weekends, but I used to get in a few hours on the weekend, and imagine I will get back there some day. When travelling for work I can easily work 12 hrs/day. I check email pretty frequently throughout the day.
      Currently my hours are dictated by daycare hours (the only affordable and quality daycare we could get into is 30 minutes from work and 30 minutes from home). Luckily my job (academia – health sciences) is very flexible as long as the work gets done.

    31. Z

      8.30a-5p with an hour lunch, so 37.5. I’m technically hourly although we don’t have a time clock, so if I work OT some week (like getting a brief to the court of appeals and the lawyers waited until the last minute to hammer out the table of contents), we either bill my OT to the client or, more likely, I leave early some other day.

    32. Charlotte

      Private practice law job: 45-60 hours a week, and I have flexibility on leaving early or coming in late for appointments or weekend travel plans. Rarely work weekends, which is nice.

    33. Aunt Vixen

      Federal contractor here – we’re paid for X hours per month and not a penny more, and we are categorically prohibited to work without getting paid, which means because we don’t get overtime we go on home when our time cards are full. My particular company pays semimonthly rather than fortnightly, so some pay periods are 80 hours, some 88, and some 96, depending on where the weekends fall in the calendar month – but that’s how many hours I work per pay period and no more.

    34. Ad Astra

      I am blessed to top out at 40 most weeks. Maybe 42 if I work through some lunches.

      My first exempt job I worked more like 50. A minimum of 45 hours at my desk (usually no lunch break, never a lunch break longer than 45 minutes) plus about 4 hours Saturday and 4 hours Sunday from home, and then any additional time if things got crazy or someone needed my help after hours. My boss thought I was lying when I mentioned to her was working 50 hours a week and my direct manager was probably working closer to 60. :(

      My teacher/coach husband spends the falls working about 65-70 hours a week, but then he averages less than 20 hours a week in the summers.

    35. Felicia

      37.5 hours a week. 8:30 – 4:30 with an unpaid 30 min lunch break. This is fairly standard for non profits in my area

    36. afiendishthingy

      I really don’t know how to calculate my total hours. I generally start working between 9 and 10 and finish between 5:30 and 7. But my job is part office based and part on-site with clients, I’m allowed to decide when I see clients as long as I see each one at least 1 – 2x a month, and I’m allowed to do the other stuff from home when I need to. So some of that 7.5 – 10 hours is driving, I usually take at least 30 minutes for lunch, and then not every minute in between is spent 100% focused (like right now when I am still in the office and reading AaM). I don’t think most people are 100% focused on their work for their whole work day either, but the flexibility of mine makes it hard for me to say exactly how many hours I’m working a week. I’d probably put it at 40 – 45, though.

    37. I'm a Little Teapot

      Main job (temp job, nonexempt, midsize company): 40 hours, 9-5:30.
      Little weekend job (nonexempt): 4 hours most weeks Saturday 9-1, occasional small off-the-clock extras like brief training sessions and e-mail exchanges with supervisors. (Yeah, I know. But the hourly rate is better than Main Job.)
      Freelance writing gigs: barely anything (2-3 hours) up to 30 hours or so, depending on deadlines, stamina, and what else is going on in my life. (I should really be more consistent.)

    38. FD

      Property management and sales here. My working time varies depending on the week, so it can be anywhere from 35 hours / week to 60+. One downside of my job is that I’m always on call, so I rarely really get to unplug fully. However, I’ve mostly weaned off checking e-mails on the weekend, and tell people if there’s an emergency, they can get me by phone or text.

    39. Anonyby

      I am vastly underemployed and attempts to chance that have not panned out.

      Currently HR has me in the systems for 3 5hr days a week. The reality is that my regularly-scheduled days are 5hrs each on Sat & Sun. During the week I’m available as a floater for whichever office needs an extra body, with the caveat that I don’t go over 40hrs or work all 7 days (either of which would tick me over into overtime). In previous years that meant I would pick up, on a rough average a couple days a week (many part-days at that). This year I’ve probably worked more 35-40hr weeks than not.

    40. Kate in MD

      I’m a federal contractor, 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day (no paid lunch break). Same when I was a government employee. However, I only have a few-ish years of experience.
      I think my manager probably works between 40-45 hours a week. The government managers I’ve seen/had generally work, at minimum, 45 hours each week.

      9-5 to me just signifies an office job with regular hours that are generally during normal business hours.

      1. Helen

        Including lunch and dinner, so pure work is around 50. It’s i-banking though, so I’m almost never the last in my office to leave.

    41. Britni

      My schedule is officially 9:30-6 Monday through Friday with half an hour for lunch, but I almost always end up with a couple hours overtime because I work in healthcare and have zero ability to leave mid-problem when it’s something that affects my patients. My boss doesn’t mind paying for the overtime, but she’s of the opinion that we shouldn’t have to work so much that we get burned out, and that’s so fantastic.

    42. HKM

      Depends on the project. My current project, it’s about 42. I’ve been on projects that was 70-80 hour weeks for about 4 months, then 80 hour weeks for the last 2 months.
      I had a particularly bonkers day where I worked from 8am – 4am then was back in at 9am.
      I am in a ridiculous industry which has insane levels of crunch though.

    43. Carnival

      I live in Israel. Most people at our company work 8:30-5:00, but those of us with kids who would like to get home earlier (or people with a long commute) are allowed to move our hours to 8:00-4:30 or 7:30-4:00. I think some people come and leave even earlier than that. We only get a half hour for lunch, unpaid, and many of us eat in groups in the cafeteria or conference rooms. Many people eat lunch at their desks, but I could never do that. I need a real break from my work.

    44. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      My base is 45 hours (8:30 – 5:30 and we are not allowed lunch. Sorry, the expectation is we work and eat).

      But an average week is 50 and a heavy week is 60-65.

    45. Ros

      Full time peofessional office job in Canada and pur policy is a 35 hour week. Its 9-5 with a 1 hour lunch and 2 20min breaks. But most seem to only take a 30min lunch.

      They are strict about limiting overtime so its highly encouraged you dont work extra unless you have a deadline or something comes up. Then you trac your overtime and take lieu.

      I love it.

    46. Drink the juice Shelby

      I work a 9/80 schedule. Monday-Thursday are 9 hour days and the one working Friday is 8 hours. That doesn’t include whatever I take for an unpaid lunch. The pay period ends at mid-shift Friday, so 4 hours for the 5 days week and 4 hours on the next. It’s really 44 hours one week and 36 the next.

      Anywho, I rarely work more than 40 hours per pay period. We don’t get paid for the first 5 hours of overtime and then it’s straight time for anything above the 5 hours.

  6. SevenSixOne

    Oh hey, what a perfect time to plug the survey I made a while ago about this very topic!

    (Link in the reply to avoid moderation hell)

  7. SevenSixOne

    tinyurl.com/whatawaytomakealiving

    I’m not doing anything with the results other than satisfying my curiosity, and you can see the results after you submit your answers!

    1. HeyNonnyNonny

      SevenSixOne, did you post this here before? I feel like I’ve taken something like this and I don’t want to muddy your results with doubles!

      1. SevenSixOne

        I did! If you want to take it again, feel free to answer based on jobs you’ve had in the past.

        I’m not too worried about muddying anything since I’m not doing anything with the results other than that one time I sent it to my parents so I could lay the “See? 9-5 jobs are NOT COMMON!” argument to rest.

    2. GrittyKitty

      Could you edit or delete my comment to your survey? I was not aware that it could be seen by all. Has my email address in it. Sorry.

  8. NYC Redhead

    I would be curious how the typical workweek changed over time. As a kid, I recall my father home from work by 5:30, which seems absurdly early these days. I suspect this has also led to an erosion of civic engagement because it’s hard to sit on a board or a bowling league when you get home from work at 7 (or later).

    1. overeducated and underemployed

      I am curious as well, and I think you’re probably right. More women’s participation in the workforce is also cited as a cause of reduced civic engagement but that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe we should all have 32 hour workweeks with a day for volunteering built in ;)

      1. F.

        Not if my salary is going to be likewise reduced! I need that money to live on and save for my pitiful little retirement fund. I fit my volunteering in on the weekends and in the evenings, though a lot of it is things I can do at home (sewing, crocheting, etc.).

    2. Not Today Satan

      I think it just goes hand in hand with the rest of our social/economic situation–corporations and the rich getting richer by having 3 workers do the work of 4, or worse. And in the past few decades union membership has declined significantly, and with it the labor movement in general has lost a lot of steam. Most people will work 50+ hours to “get ahead” if they have to. There’s not much solidarity in terms of workers joining together and taking a stand. (Partly because they’re afraid they’ll lose their job, or that if they quit they won’t find a new one. So it just gets worse exponentially as time goes on.)

      1. I'm a Little Teapot

        +millions. Not to mention that the US is full of idiots who don’t want any laws cramping businesses’ styles or returning the tax code to a more progressive system because they’re convinced they’re going to strike it rich someday. Or who just blame it all on immigrants, welfare queens, or entitled Millennials.

    3. AVP

      My family was talking about this recently because my dad used to coach my sports teams when I was little, and we recalled that the practices used to start at 6pm. It’s unbelievable to any of us now that he was able to get home, pick me up, change, and get somewhere else by 6pm on a weeknight – now that he’s older even he works much later than he used to.

      1. AnotherHRPro

        I actually work long hours, but manage to adjust my schedule to coach a team. It is tricky but do-able for me. Everyone knows the days I have to leave at a reasonable time and my company is supportive. That said, I more than make up those hours. :)

    4. Ad Astra

      I only work 8-5 most days and I still feel like I don’t have time for anything beyond making dinner, trying to keep my house clean, and taking care of the dog. Occasionally I’ll attend a happy hour for my local young professionals group, and even that feels like an imposition. I don’t see how someone who regularly works until 7 could be involved in anything at all. Maybe I’m just low-energy.

      1. Milly the Millennial

        Yes, exactly! Me, too. I don’t understand at all how some of my coworkers stay “out” until 4 AM and are at work, alive and awake, at 8. I can’t even imagine it.

        I don’t even cook anymore, I just eat raw fruit/veg, and sometimes I don’t even bother to eat because it takes too much energy haha. I’m low energy too, I guess.

    5. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      I am very lucky in the fact that part of my role is business/community engagement, so being involved is a line item on my job description, which makes it easier to say, “I have to leave for my Save the Teapot” meeting and I am able to arrive late to go to the chamber meeting,

      But it’s also kind of exhausting. After a really long day, it’s hard to want to go sit at a board meeting or volunteer.

  9. BRR

    It so depends. My new job and my last two jobs are 35 hour work weeks. My husbands job has him as an indefinite temp and he works 40 hours with a 30 min unpaid lunch that he has to take. My best friend is an auditor at a big four firm and she has worked 60+ weeks. When her husband was traveling internationally she would text me when she wa leaving and when she got home and sometimes it would be at 1 am and she needed to be there at 830 or 9 the next morning. This would include weekend work and she had to ask off for my birthday which was on a Sunday.

  10. Bend & Snap

    I went from 60-65 hours a week to 9-5 in the office and checking email and occasionally taking calls/doing projects at night. It is WONDERFUL.

    It can be tough because I’m a single mom and everyone I work with is on the west coast, but I’m learning to juggle more effectively and set boundaries around my evening time with my daughter. There are busy periods, and travel, but overall it’s a pretty steady cadence.

    I feel lucky. Many people in my industry, and my company, work WAY longer hours than I do. The work/life balance is part of the reason I changed jobs and I stick as close to 9-5 as I can.

  11. Honeybee

    I have flexible hours, so I usually get to work between 8:30 and 9:00 and I usually leave between 5:00 and 6:30. If I get in earlier I try to leave earlier. There’s very little evening work unless something is happening (a product launch or a study) and virtually no weekend work. I do sometimes come in earlier because I do some work with people in a time zone 8 hours ahead of me.

  12. Timely

    In the late 80’s and early 90’s I worked 9 – 5 with 1/2 hour paid lunch
    Late 90’s 8:30 – 5 with 1/2 hour lunch
    2000 – 2012 8:30 – 5:30 with 1/2 hour lunch
    2012-2014 – 8:30 – 5:00 with 1/2 hour lunch
    and now 10 – 6 with a 1/2 hour paid lunch

  13. F.

    HR Manager, small company, salaried, exempt, 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. because I am an early bird and we need the early morning phone coverage in the construction industry. 42.5 hours/week since I almost never work through my half-hour lunch. I do keep the phone on until 9:00 p.m. and on the weekends, though.

  14. Chriama

    As someone new to the working world, I think I lucked out with a 36.25 hour week (45 min lunch, which I thought was weirdly stingy because why not just round to 1 hr, but people take the full hour anyway). I honestly couldn’t stomach a 9 – 6 and I think I’ll have to be on the lookout for that when/if I ever switch jobs.

  15. Seashell

    My friends definitely work longer than me, I’m at 8:30-4:30, 4:45 most days. We get an hour unpaid lunch and I’m not great about using the full hour so it evens out. Office culture is to not work late if you don’t have to so I follow what everyone else does.

  16. ThursdayAnon

    My company has a 37.5 hour work week. I probably average 43-45 hours a week. It’s a rare occasion when I check email at night or on the weekend. If something is urgent (again, rare), I’ll get a text.

  17. alexcansmile

    I’m hourly, but work in an office setting. I can work pretty much whatever hours I want (within reason) as long as I hit my 40 hours. But I do have to take a minimum 30-minute unpaid lunch each day, within 5 hours of starting. I usually end up working 8:15 to 4:45.

  18. CanadianDot

    At my previous job, I was working a 37.5 hour week, and where we are now (at separate workplaces), my husband and I both work 35 hour workweeks. My hourly salary is calculated based on an annual salary. Neither of us work in the private sector, though.

    1. Milly the Millennial

      I work for a US company but am currently visiting a Canadian client. (I also used to live in Canada.) The whole office empties out at 4. They get in at 8. They lock their laptops up in their desks before leaving. Work doesn’t go home with them. I’ve been in the hotel room finishing up work every night and I hate it.

  19. Ruth (UK)

    I don’t personally know anyone who actually works 9-5 though I know multiple people who work what I would consider ‘office hours’ (ie. daytime, weekday as opposed to shift based including late evenings, weekends and nights).

    My office is open 8-6 though it is rare that individuals are there from 8-6 every day. We mostly work 8 or 9 hour shifts such as 8-4 / 9-6 etc to add up to our correct number of hours (and at least 2 people must be in the office at any given time as we often receive phone calls). Our exact schedule is arranged in advance but not the same every week, to be sure of coverage. This is pretty general admin.

    I find for me it tends to give flexibility that benefits me rather than makes it difficult. Because of the culture in my office and attitude of my boss etc it’s easy to make life-arrangements around work as I can, say, work 8-3 one day and 9-6 the next as long as I check in advance (and my manager always agrees to that type of thing in the shift schedule unless they have a real reason why they can’t).

    I actually prefer it like this than if it was a rigid 9-5. The longer opening time makes it easier to make up hours off by working overtime rather than having to use annual leave.

    As opposed to working ‘flexible’ hours in fast food which meant -I- had to be flexible for -them- and was never free, EVER and could never make any plans at any time, even in the middle of the night or on a weekend or EVER because they decided our shifts for us, only gave us the weekly schedule the day before the week commenced and would not accept almost ANY reason for you not to be available for the shift they put you on. I was a complete nighmare to try and ask for time off (even a few hours or an evening), especially fridays, weekends or holidays. My friends would be like ‘hey, are you free at [time]’ and I’d be like ‘don’t know yet but assume no’.

  20. ThatGirl

    I’m salaried and work from home two days a week and in the office three. We have flexible hours so my in-office hours are 7:30 to 3:30 (no lunch break, I eat at my desk); at home I work roughly 6:30 to 3 and take a break to walk the dog/eat lunch. I usually don’t go too far over 40 hours in any given week unless it’s crunch time; in my seven years here we’ve actually managed to balance our workload better so that we have fewer dull as toast down times but also less “everyone work 50+ hours!!” weeks.

    My husband is also salaried and has a 37.5 hour week (half hour break) – he very occasionally has to put in extra time in the evening or on a weekend, but mostly works his 8:30 to 4:30 hours without hassle.

  21. UKAnon

    I do 10-6 with a half hour unpaid lunch, so 37.5 hours. I’m in the UK though and it seems like we do less hours in general than those of you in the US – nearly everyone I know here works 9-5 with a one hour lunch, so 35 hours. Having said that, my last (awful) job was supposed to be 9-5.30 with an hour for lunch and frequently ended up being 9.30-8pm+ with no proper break.

    1. UKAnon

      *waves hallo*

      Unless I’ve gone completely bonkers, I didn’t post, so we seem to be the same person! I’ll beetle off to change my name now :)

      1. Accidental name-stealer (first UKAnon)

        Ha! How funny that we chose exactly the same name. No worries, I’m new around here and don’t post often so if you want the name you can have it ;)

  22. Parfait

    My first job out of high school was 10 – 6 with a paid lunch (small independent retail shop). Glorious. I’ve also worked a 37.5 hour week and been paid for 40 (academia). Also not bad. Now I’m exempt and my hours fluctuate depending on what’s going on. Generally a 40 hour week, but sometimes more. and if it’s been more for a while, I have no problem leaving early on days when things are less frenetic.

  23. Stan

    Our core hours are 8:30-4:30 with an hour for lunch, so 35 hours a week. There’s a great deal of flexibility within individual roles and different people have busy periods at different times of the year. Our education director is really swamped in late summer/early fall, but my busy periods are in December and April. During busy times, it’s not unusual for people to be working 50-60 hours. There’s no formal comp time system, but during slow times people are allowed to cut back and take the occasional 1/2 day, long lunch, etc. without taking a hit from PTO.

    1. Stan

      I should add that I’m currently working 6:30-2:30 p.m. and our ed director is working noon-8 and no one bats an eye or adds snarky commentary.

  24. Mortorph

    I’m curious how the newly proposed labor rules will affect this. (If you haven’t heard, the labor dept is proposing raising the minimum wage to be considered exempt from around 26,000 to around 55,000/yr.)

    1. Ad Astra

      I’m exempt making less than 50K a year, so I’m really curious about how my company would deal with this. I assume they would just switch me and my counterparts to non-exempt, but that would be a bit of an adjustment. No more working lunches, and the occasional evening and weekend events we work would be complicating factor.

  25. Nancie

    I’ve only had one job that was 9-5. And to make it even more awesome, flex time was not just allowed, but encouraged. I was in my early 20s, and I usually got home from work early enough to watch Animaniacs.

  26. Anon for this

    I work in procurement.
    Old job – salaried, hours 7-4, worked 9 hour days (8 days, excluding Sat. and Sun.) and got every other Friday off. Did not take a lunch (ate at my desk while working).
    Job now – Salaried, hours 7:30-4:30, one hour lunch (not paid) total 40 hours worked / was paid for the week.
    Co-workers are: salaried, come in between 7 – 9 AM, leave between 3 – 4:15 PM and take a lunch (1 – 2 hour lunch) also often leave the office during the workday in the morning or afternoon to go run errands and return to the office! They typically work about 5 hours a day. I have been there a year and to my knowledge no one has said anything to them about their work schedule!

    1. Liztomania

      I think that’s true: art-y workplaces/jobs tend to have somewhat later start and end times.

      ….I would kill for a 10 to 6!

  27. The Zone Of Avoidance

    I’m not sure how to answer the question. I’m exempt, but I work from home, and one thing about working from home is that it makes it a lot harder to “leave work at work”. I’ll typically wake up between 6am and 8am, make some coffee and boom, I’m online and “at work.” I don’t typically take a lunch break, and I’ll generally sign off sometime from 4:30pm to 7pm. But I may be back on later in the evening, depending on what’s going on.

    The other issue in answering is: exactly what is work? Part of my job involves reading and learning and thinking about things. If I take a shower in the evening and think about work matters, and then I dry off, get dressed, and send email to some co-workers based on what I cwas thinking about in the shower … I dunno, I can see arguments both for and against this being considered “work”.

    1. Becky B

      I’ve noticed I get more done when I’m working from home, because it’s so easy just to turn on the laptop when I’m wandering around doing early morning things, and then “just check email” while waiting for the tea to brew, and then before you know it, I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet and it’s 8:30 AM.

    2. afiendishthingy

      Yes – my job is super lenient in terms of telecommuting and flextime and I don’t know how to answer “How many hours do you work” either.

  28. Window Seat Anon

    I usually end up doing 7:20 to 4:20 due to the bus schedule (since that’s my transportation). I rarely ever have to stay any later than that but if I do it’s never any later than 5:15 because the 5:20 is the last bus of the day for my route and no one wants to take me home (I live in the opposite direction of everyone here at my office). I supposed I could call a cab, but I’ve never had to do it.

    The retail job I had before this was 10 to 8, 6 days a weeks and it SUCKED. Literally. The life right out of me.

    1. Window Seat Anon

      I should add, I get an hour lunch in my current job, though I usually only take 45 or 30 minutes, but at the previous job I got a 30 minute lunch break and supposedly two 15 minute breaks, though in practice, we never received them.

  29. Carrie in Scotland

    All my admin full time jobs have been 35 hours 1, hour unpaid break, 9-5 with varied flexibility.

    Admin job 1: we had “flexi time” so if we came in a bit early, had a shorter lunch etc we could take the hours back, up to an entire day per 4 week period (essentially an extra day off!) but this didn’t always work out. 1 admin person worked a condensed week and got every 2nd Friday off.

    Admin job 2: my manager was flexible and didn’t mind if I took a slightly longer lunch if I had an appt, had to leave early etc. Hours varied from 8.30-4.30/condensed working/part time/9-5.

    Admin job 3/current job: doesn’t seem overly flexible but you can take a short lunch/come in early etc if you need to leave before 5 for some reason. Most full timers are 9-5 but many part timers that work a mixture of hours.

  30. Mike C.

    5:30/6:00am to 2:00/2:30ish. It’s early as all hell, but no traffic and I still have time for appointments. The downside is that I have the bedtime of a child.

    What’s kind of fun is if I get up early I can still see some of my friends who stayed up way too late the night before.

    1. Mike C.

      Also, I usually hit 42-45 hour weeks, but there are crazier times where I’m putting in 50+ hours.

    2. F.

      I tend to think about work at home a lot, too. I bounce work issues off my husband to get his perspective, do professional development reading and legal research on the internet, reply to emails, etc. My brain doesn’t turn off from work mode just because I walk out the office door.

  31. Sarah

    I’m an academic librarian at a private liberal arts university. Librarians typically open one day/M-F (arrive at 7:30), close one day/M-F (stay until 8), and work ~6 Saturdays per year (9:30-5). We have an evening supervisor who works until midnight Sunday-Thursday. There are 7 librarians so we rotate who opens/closes each semester. Other than that, we have a pretty flexible schedule–we need to work 42.5 hours per week, which includes a half hour lunch break everyday; so really, 40 hours/week + 30 minutes for lunch. I pretty much work 8:30-5 when I am not opening or closing, but it’s great to have the flexibility to work, say, 10-6:30 if I have some place to be at 7 that’s on the way home or to work a long day to be able to leave early later in the week. Some of my coworkers work at home at night/on the weekend but it isn’t required at all. I NEVER work more than 40 hours per week, and when I do, you bet I take comp time the following week. It is great to have this flexibility, though we are highly accountable for our hours (log them in a wiki site at the beginning of the week).

    My husband, on the other hand, is a teacher at a charter school. Mandatory work hours are 7-5 M-F, but he’s pretty much there by 6:30 and leaves between 5:15-5:45 AND still has work to do at home every night/weekend. Some nights he has to stay late for meetings/events until 6, 7, 8, 9 pm. It’s a bummer, and is part of the reason why he’s going to leave the charter school world for next year.

  32. Macedon

    I have this feeling we all walked away from this post humming, Working niiiiiiine to fiiiiiiiiiiiive

  33. AdAgencyChick

    I remember a team-building karaoke night in which one of my coworkers selected the song “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, except she sang “10 to 10” instead of “9 to 5.”

    Thankfully, that isn’t always accurate, but it feels that way sometimes. :S

  34. JGray

    At my current job- the schedule is Monday to Thursday 7am to 5pm and Friday 7am to 4 pm with hour lunch and every other Friday off. The pay period beings & ends at 11am on Fridays so when you work Fridays you end up with 4 hours that carry over so you get your 40 hours for the week. For instance, this week I get Friday off so I am really happy that today is Thursday :). In my area work hours are typically 8-5 so it is amazing some days how much work I get done from 7am-8am because no one realizes that we are at the office. It is nice to have 3 days weekends too but sometimes it sucks getting to work so early. In my position, once I leave I leave the office (no checking emails later, no phone calls) but there are quite a few others that work at home a lot or come in on weekends. I don’t think that you can say that there is a standard any more because companies do what works for them.

  35. Menacia

    I have a rotating schedule which is either 7:30 – 4, 8 – 4:30, or 9-5:30, which works out to be 42.5 hours a week (including lunch). I come in to work and I work, I don’t socialize a lot because much of it does not interest me, and I have a lot to do. I work in tech support, but also work on projects so I’m constantly busy. I don’t tend to go out to lunch, or take lunch away from my desk, so I’m working through lunch most days. I don’t feel bad at all about leaving on time because I know I always do a good days’ work.

  36. Lily Rowan

    I don’t think I’ve ever been told what amount of time I get for lunch, as I’ve been exempt and working for nonprofits most of my career. My current job is the theoretically 9-5, and people are not in the office much outside that, although there’s a fair amount of working from home. I’m generally one of the first people in at 8:30, and if I”m here past 5:30, I’m one of the last people out.

  37. J

    I’m at work 9-5, eat quick at my desk. No one makes me have that schedule. Work later if needed, but on the other hand, I’ll run out for an appointment once in awhile.

  38. Sparkly Librarian

    My new (current) job is in a public library and it has very agreeable hours: 9:00-5:30 four days a week, and then one day where we open late and close late (11:30 – 7:00). Every day has a one-hour lunch break that is unpaid but scheduled and can’t be skipped. So that’s 37.5 hours, and overtime is carefully regulated by the union and is rarely scheduled. We are encouraged to leave precisely on time. With my half-hour walking or bussing commute, I’m home by 6 almost every night. Lovely!

    Previously, I worked in the private sector about an hour’s commute away. My hours as an hourly employee were 9-6, with a one-hour unpaid lunch (40 hrs/week) and occasional opportunities for overtime. Then I was promoted into a salaried position at the same company, and my new boss stressed during onboarding that she didn’t want to micromanage anyone’s schedule and that we were free to make reasonable adjustments as long as the work got done. I immediately set my start time as 9:30, which gave me more precious sleep and made the commute easier. I’d work 9:30-6:00 most days, and stay until 7:00 or later if needed, averaging 40 hours/week. Sometimes I ate at my desk and sometimes I took a full hour’s lunch; the choice was up to me as long as I wasn’t missing a meeting or anything. While it wasn’t a grueling schedule by any means, there were whole seasons where I didn’t step outside during daylight hours, and I never got to eat dinner before 7:00. Ugh.

  39. Mary in Texas

    I work for a company in the top 10 of the Fortune 500. I work 7:00ish to 5:00ish. I always take lunch away from work. I just have to get away. But we have something called a 19/30 day, where if we work an extra 30 minutes a day, we get one day off a month. I love it! We can tack it onto a vacation or holiday, so it’s really nice to have. My bonus reflects the longer hours I put in, so I’m really okay with it. I check emails once in the evening and once on the weekend, but that’s about it.

  40. usesofenchantment

    As others have pointed out, the “on paper/open for business” hours vary depending on industry and the actual time spent working fluctuates depending on one’s role and even the time of year. Another factor would be whether or not the office is open for a longer period of time than the business itself.

    News organizations and media companies would be open 24/7 — the buildings themselves. So theoretically, a person could arrive at the office at 7:30 AM, not start working until 9AM, and then leave between 5 and 6pm. Or, you can’t show up until the premises are unlocked and you have to leave when the premises lock.

  41. Potato Chip

    My husband is living the dream– 10-6, and that includes a paid lunch hour. Museum life, man.

  42. Potato Chip

    As for me, at my last job I was working 6-2:30. I think I’d rather work 10 hours a day than get up at 4 am on the regular ever again.

    1. afiendishthingy

      Yeah I was working 7:30 – 2:30 (7:30-3:30 on Mondays) at my last job. Hourly and low paying. I am NOT a morning person and would not go back to that schedule even though I’m working longer days now.

  43. HWL

    I think the new normal is 8:30 – 6:30, no lunch break, at least in the tech space. Lunch is catered in, as is dinner, so why would you need to leave? Our company also offers perks like a free car service home if you work past 10:00. Honestly I think this schedule only works for young single people. I also notice that after 6:00 no real work is going on, mostly it is games of ping pong and having a beer.

    1. Charityb

      I think people can work nonstop for 10-12 hour days and be productive but only for short periods of time. When it becomes a regular expectation, that kind of thing seems to happen in my experience. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think people can really stay focused for that long, and when you’re working long hours because of a cultural expectation rather than because you have 12 hours of work to do every single day of the year, chances are a lot of that time is wasted. It’s kind of like the maxim that work will expand to fill the amount of time given to it.

      If my boss wants me to be at work from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day, I can do that; chances are, most of the extra hours will be spent on AAM, organizing my Outlook inbox, or curating my Spotify playlist.

    2. Sammie

      I’m in Tech too. I work from home and I can honestly say I have about 65-70 hours worth of work to complete a week. It’s absolutely not sustainable–so I end up either producing crappy product or just completely dropping one of the balls I have in the air. My manager supports me by simultaneously admitting my workload is too much, adding more–then berating me for work quality or ball dropping. He’s an absolute delight. Our team has a saying that we,”start every day excepting that we are going to fail and/or really tick someone off every single day.”

      I’m trying to motivate myself to job hunt more aggressively–but I am utterly and completely demoralized. I don’t care what the government says—there aren’t more jobs being created.

  44. Sneaky

    When I worked at a grocery store, a full-time shift was 8.5 hours with an unpaid 30-minute lunch and two paid 10-minute breaks, and you could be scheduled to start and finish at any time of the day or night depending on your job/what hours you wanted to work. They were pretty consistent with the scheduling, unlike some of the retail horror stories I’ve heard – a lot of the employees (including me) were college students, and if you said you had class until 2 pm on Monday and Wednesday, for example, you could mostly count on never being scheduled to work before 3.

    At my current salaried corporate job, the “official” workday is 9 hours with an hour of paid lunch, but you can choose to start between 7-9 am and finish between 4-6 pm depending on when you started. There’s a pretty fair amount of flexibility for appointments, etc. – if you need to leave early one day, you’re not required to make up the hours on another day. I generally do not stay late unless there’s an event that specifically requires me to be present in the office; if I have work to finish, I’ll take it home with me and do it there (and I usually check email a couple of times during the evening as a matter of course). Things could be a lot worse.

  45. Milly the Millennial

    I work about 7-4 officially, but regularly end up staying until 4:30-5. This is about the most I can do. I’m still in my first job out of college, so I really worry for my future. My boss has been talking promotion lately, which worries me, because the people currently in the role I would be promoted to, regularly put in 60 hour weeks. They also must check emails on evenings and weekends. For a variety of reasons, mostly health issues, I cannot work that much. I don’t know how to tell my boss I don’t want to be promoted. Boss also wants me to be “passionate” about my job, whereas I’m like…I’m passionate about affording housing, food, and medication…I like having health insurance…isn’t that enough? If I’m doing something wrong/bad/not good enough, then tell me that, don’t start in about my lack of “passion” for the job.

    I volunteer, I’m involved in my religious community, I exercise when I can, I have groups for interests I have, I’m involved in some young professionals events. I know that none of that is nearly as important as raising children. But honestly, I spend many a weeknight shitting my guts out before passing out around 7 PM. That’s just a fact of life for me.

    My boss thinks it’s f*cking hilarious that I’m always tired, he says things like “When I was your age I was young and free!” “What do you mean you don’t drink? That was all I did before I had kids!” He thinks my entire life is a joke, something of no value, that ought to be dedicated to the company.

    1. Ruth (UK)

      Hi Milly.

      You say the things you do are not as important as raising children, but I disagree. Different things are important different amount to different people. You say you volunteer – that’s a good and important thing. It’s good to have interests and do other things in your life.

      Your boss can just worry about his own life and tiredness levels, there is no reason to mock yours. Find the things that you find valuable and dedicate your life to those things. I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am not a ‘career minded’ person. I am content doing what I do (an admin job that likely has no progression).

      There are 2 reasons to advance in your career:
      1. because you want more money
      2. because you care about what you do/ life fulfilment / prestige, etc

      I have no wish to make more money and I find fulfilment in my life in other ways (eg. volunteer projects and activities / things / communities I am part of. Some people also find it through raising a family, or religion, or whatever their thing is. It sounds like you also are finding things to be passionate about outside of your career. Sometimes people just want a job that is just a job. And that’s ok.

      Don’t let someone who clearly knows nothing about you tell you what should be important in your life. It does not sound like promotion is something you want or would enjoy or do well at in your current work place. And most people will not necessarily think like your boss does. It may be worth considering job hunting for somewhere that would be better for you, depending on whether that’s possible for you right now.

      I hope your future goes the way you want it to.

      From Ruth (another Millennial). ps. I also don’t drink. And I don’t (and can’t) have kids.

    2. Jules

      I hear you Milly – my IBD is now (thankfully) very much under control using a strict diet (also, sadly, no alcohol) and the occasional round of steroids, but I vividly remember those years where I could do nothing if I were also working.

      I would encourage you not to preemptively turn down a promotion (especially if it comes with more money); instead, think about what you would be prepared to do and how the job might be adapted to accommodate your legitimate health issues, then when you get offered the promotion, tell your boss ‘I’d love to, but because of my health condition, we would need to modify it in X, Y, Z, ways. Do you think we could make that work?’.

      Most people in my job work a 60+ hour week – I don’t, because I’ve learned which parts of the job are absolutely essential, which ones can be delegated to a competent team, and which ones can be let slide.

    3. Charityb

      I’ve probably never met your boss but I kind of want to smack him. He doesn’t seem like he’s trying to be any kind of mentor to you, and he definitely doesn’t seem to understand or even want to understand what’s going on with you. I hope you can find a real professional mentor, someone who can help you grow your career at the pace that you want and in such a way that you still have the time and energy to do the things that you value. This guy doesn’t seem to be able to relate to anyone who doesn’t have the same background, lifestyle, and interests that he does.

  46. Strikebreaker Industries, your Human Resource Extraction Company

    Businesses never wanted a 40 hour work-week; that was all union (with maybe a little push from Teddy Roosevelt). Now that the unions (in the U.S. private-sector, anyway) are a shadow of their former selves, so is the 40 hour work week.

  47. Wrench Turner

    7ish-5, 15 minutes standing lunch open to interruption by customers.
    At least I work indoors?

  48. Rose of Cimarron

    Yep, roughly 8-5:45 or 6, usually eat breakfast and lunch at work, at least two hours of commuting a day, and a fair amount of weekend work at home. There’s no time for anything else. I try to get out and walk every day for a bit but I miss about 50% of the time.

  49. esra

    I worked 9-6 for the first time at my last gig and hated it. I mean, the job was awful, but that extra hour made me feel like I had no evening at all.

    I don’t think I got any more work done either. I may have actually gotten less accomplished.

  50. Bend & Snap

    I had a mandatory 55 hour work week at the worst job in the world. I’ve posted here about it before. I made peanuts, the office was a dump, and they didn’t want you to do your flipping 15 extra hours in the morning–it only counted if they saw you in your seat at night.

    They slandered me to all my clients when I left to the point that I lost a job offer.

    Truly the worst place in the world.

  51. Blurgle

    I don’t think I’ve had a job since high school that started as late as 9. Hours like 7-4 or 7:30-5 have been much more common.

  52. Leon

    With the continuation of down-sizing and middle sizing the ones left behind continue to see their workloads expanded pushing even harder on the hours. I know in the last round of lay offs I picked up “work” from 2-3 people who were let go. Well, a year later and they have let me go, sorry for the poor bastard who now has to pick up my workload. Very unsustainable situation.

  53. Michelle

    My schedule is 8:30am – 5pm, with a 30 minute unpaid lunch, s0 I work 42.5 hours per week. Not bad overall, but I have to do a lot of running around on Saturdays because businesses like the utility company and banks truly work 9-5 and are not open before I go to work and are closed by the time I get off.

  54. Slippy

    I’m in IT and my hours are roughly 8 to 4, working through lunch. However since training budgets are a thing of the past I usually spend 1-3 hours a night on self study to maintain and improve skills. So I technically work 8 but in reality go for 9 – 11 hours a day in order to not become obsolete and downsized in a couple of years. I know many IT professionals that work the same way.

  55. Anonymous Educator

    Most non-teaching jobs I’ve had have been much longer than 9-5.
    One was 8:00 AM-4:30 PM.
    Another was 8:00 AM-5:00 PM during the regular season and then 9:00 AM-3:00 PM during the summer.
    Then I had 8:30 AM-5:30 PM during the regular season and 9:00 AM-4:30 PM summer hours.
    Then 8:00 AM-4:30 PM again.

  56. boop

    Hour lunches sound brutal. I’m doing the 9-5 thing with the 30-min lunch, except I pretty much just stand and eat which is probably more like a ten-minute lunch. I can’t imagine hanging around my workplace for an hour. It would still feel like working. I think I’d rather just leave earlier.

    1. Sneaky

      Depends on where you work. At my last job, it was really easy to leave the building, so most people would go out at lunch and do errands or eat somewhere else. Current job is in a mega-office complex where it takes 15-20 minutes just to get to your car and out of the parking structure, so I mostly eat at my desk and leave earlier.

  57. Another Jim

    We have a minimum 44 hour work week. How you schedule your time is mostly up to you. A fair number go from 8:00am to 5:00pm and work through lunch. I normally do 7:30am to 4:30pm and work through lunch. The earlier start and end time aligns better to traffic for a very long commute (60 – 75 minutes each way). So 9-5 has always been rather insulting.

  58. CM

    I would love to hear about U.S. corporate jobs that are 9-to-5ish. Can we name specific companies, or is there some resources to find out about this? Last time I interviewed for jobs, I asked, “What are the hours like here — is the expectation closer to 9-to-5, or 24-7 availability?” Which I thought was a pretty smooth way to ask the question without implying that I really wanted 9-to-5 (which I did). But I had two interviewers literally laugh at me and say, “Uh, it’s NOT 9-to-5.” And a few that said things like, “Well, we work core hours, but of course we all check in during evenings and weekends, and everyone is expected to pitch in and work longer hours when needed,” which to me sounds like code for “be available all the time.”

  59. JS

    I make $65k a year, have benefits and most days work 10-4 or 9:30-4:3o max. I put in the occasional 12 hour day and am on call in case the rare night or weekend emergency comes up. I feel like I have it pretty good.

  60. Yarrow

    Wow… I read this post to take a braek from reading tips to prepare for an interview I have later this week.

    I want to leave my current job because I am isolated and forbidden from speaking to coworkers or from doing anything beside make copies, even though I am classified as a manager (yeah, I don’t understand either).

    … But my boss usually only works 9-3 with a lunch break. I can leave anytime after the boss does. Even with a 2.7-hour daily commute, I leave at 7 and am home by 17:40. While I am not allowed to meet with students, collaborate on projects, or attend meetings, I am allowed to go on vacation so long as I let my boss know a week or two in advance. Maybe I should appreciate what I have until the grant officially ends…

  61. KR

    Late, late, late to this thread.
    Job 1 is 29 hours a week, not to exceed 58 hours per every 2 weeks (Health care reform laws in the US). I usually try to work 8:15-5 with a 3+ hour night meeting on Mondays, but because it’s part time my boss gives me a lot of flexibility.
    Job 2 is a retail job, so the hours vary every week but lately it’s been about 17-20 hours a week anywhere from 8am-10:15pm.
    So in total, I usually average 50 hours a week working.

  62. ChrisH

    First it depends on whether you are hourly or salaried. In general, the idea that people work 40 hours a week in my industry (IT) is just a novelty. The norm for salaried people in our vertical is usually 50 hours / week (+25%), and routinely spikes at 55-65 hours / week (or more) during crunch time.

    The ‘unhappy lunch’ of getting something and bringing it back to your desk to eat while you continue to work is what happens 90% of the time. The time you spend out of office is typically the time it takes you to drive/walk, wait in line and walk back. This can routinely eat up 20-30 mins.

    If you live in a horrible commuting region, it gets even tougher. Predictable hours can only be obtained by leaving with plenty of time to spare. My normal commute requires 2 hours each way to go 46 miles – all highway driving. It’s a ridiculous waste if time.

    So in the end, most of us live in our cars and at work, and sleep at home. If I get an hour with my kids I’m lucky. I have no energy to cook or clean, so we eat a lot of take out, and the chores are generally outsourced to a cleaning person. Even taking the garbage to the street for pickup is questionable. Basically anything that costs you time in your personal life is scrutinized.

    It’s not a happy lifestyle. The money is decent but the net effect is that you spend it all supporting your working life. It costs me about $60 a day to go to work, between breakfast, lunch and a late snack, fuel, parking and tolls. That doesn’t include car payments, insurance maintenance, depreciation or repairs, office parties, morale events, or all of the other things companies don’t pay for anymore. No I’m not exaggerating. No I’m not kidding. Those are real numbers.

    My standard day is 13-15 hours with the commute. Companies have no clue how to deal with the way the workplace is these days, and generally they all expect 50% more time than they are paying you for. The reason they get away with it is because if you don’t do it some young buck or overachiever will. They think it’s ‘positive competition’ when in reality it’s just abusive practices and a lack of reasonable management, and corporate greed.

    No, you’re not alone, and trust me it could be a lot worse than 8-6 or 9-5.

  63. Peguin

    9-5 ? 8-6? what’s that?

    Hah, in my job (software industry), it’s more like 12-12 (minus a couple of hours in between!)
    We have coworkers and clients around the globe, so we basically code 10-6 (or some slightly variations), but everyone expects everyone else to be available via email/IM/etc around the clock.

    It might sound extreme, but I honestly get used to it and even find it rewarding. Perhaps that’ll change once I get a little order and/or settle down with a family.

    For now, I do believe I should put 100% effort into what I love to do – and I do love my job

Comments are closed.