I’m a finalist for a job where it sounds like people work a ton of hours

A reader writes:

I have been interviewing with a company and after a successful in-person interview, they want to proceed to the next stage. As yet, they haven’t formally made an offer, and we haven’t talked money, but it seems like they will offer me the role: they invited me to meet with them on Monday to “talk through the offer” (their words).

The company has many strengths: a smallish place that is growing fast (but not a start-up), a commitment to training and learning, nice people, up-to-date technology, etc. I’m a career-changer who is looking for my first role in tech. Apart from the fact that it’s really difficult to find those entry-level/junior roles, a place that grows their staff and commits to training juniors would be a great start to my career.

However, a number of comments that were made during the interviews (one on Skype, one in person) indicated that they work a LOT, as in long hours. For example, various staff members who I met or who interviewed me made comments like:
– “Biggest challenge? How to fit a year’s work into three weeks!” (said as a “joke” that was obviously not really a joke)
– “The dev team are great, they’re a tight-knit bunch — they were here coding til midnight the other night!” (hmmm)
– “People arrive around 8:30 and stay til …. whenever” (rather than “around 5:30” or anything like that)
– “If you are busy and have a lot going on in your life … ” I don’t remember the exact phrasing here, but the implication (really, it was an outright statement) was that that wouldn’t be compatible with working there. (This comment was by far the biggest red flag to me.)
– The fact that my first interview (via Skype) was on a Saturday.

Mostly things that would be totally innocuous on their own, but together it forms a certain pattern. (I could add several more examples too, but won’t bore you.)

I’ve been thinking about all this a lot more since the interview, and it seems like a big red flag to me. I work hard and yeah, sometimes you can’t be out the door on the dot of five if you have a big release. But work-life balance is really important to me. And I do have a busy life and a lot going on outside of work, just as everyone does: commitments to family, friends, volunteering, hobbies, etc. Even if that wasn’t the case, it’s important to me to have time to live, not just live to work. I think that is a reasonable position.

So in retrospect, it seems like quite a red flag. I want to probe them about this, but I’m unsure how to do so. Do you think it’s appropriate to ask them about their expectations re: hours worked? Or do I just need to suck it up for a couple of years and pay my dues, being quite new to this work?

Important context: I’m in New Zealand, where we have a much more laid-back work culture than the States – a 40h week is the norm. Even tech companies are (mostly) quite into work-life balance. We don’t have the concept of ‘exempt’ workers, and working a lot of overtime is unusual here. When overtime is worked, it’s traditionally paid at time-and-a-half (although this is not legally required).

Yeeesssh, huge red flag.

Actually, it’s not even a red flag in the sense of “hmmm, this is concerning and you should investigate further.” These people are directly telling you that they work really long hours.

This is exactly the kind of thing that people wish prospective coworkers would be open about, because too often no one mentions it until after you start the job and discover that the job that you thought had reasonable hours actually has horrible ones.

These people have been up-front with you! That’s a good thing. Believe what they’re saying.

If you don’t want to work really long hours, you should not take this job.

And no, I don’t think that you need to suck it up and deal with this for a couple of years. You said pretty clearly that most companies where you live have reasonable hours. Don’t pick the one place you’ve found that doesn’t.

{ 149 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Dang

    Yes, they are directly telling you that the expectation is to work long hours.

    And they also seem to view it as a badge of honor, for whatever that’s worth.

    Reply
    1. A.

      True- it would be one thing if they were hiring extra staff so no one has to work such long hours, but they are not saying anything like that; instead it sounds like a culture of overwork that they are proud of.

      Reply
    2. Rachel

      I’ve just had an interview for a company where they upfront told me that they work long hours and that I would be expected to work weekends and the interviewer said it in a way that suggested they saw it as a badge of honour and I just though nope, not the place for me, I work hard but I don’t want to work that many hours in an entry level job.

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        1. Whats In A Name

          I agree. I have a manager here who wears the fact that she is in at 6 every day as a badge of honor. “First in, last out” it’s how I was raised…blah, blah…she also plans all personal vacations and researches things like new furniture, appliances, pays bills online, etc. through the workday. Her work product is fine, but she could probably work a normal 40 hour work week and the rest of us wouldn’t have to hear her complain about how she is always here.

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          1. turquoisecow

            She sounds like one of my former coworkers, who spent more time talking about how much he was working than he did actually working.

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          2. Dolorous Bread

            “she also plans all personal vacations and researches things like new furniture, appliances, pays bills online, etc. through the workday.”

            Jeez, I do all that AND I make sure I don’t pull more than 45hrs a week ;)

            (and I’m no slacker either, I swear.)

            Reply
    3. Antilles

      +1
      This isn’t a red flag or coded message or hinting. They’re straight up saying “You will work far more than 40 hours per week or you will not succeed here”.

      Reply
      1. sstabeler

        well, it IS a red flag, it’s just that they are deliberately waving it, as opposed to you having to actually look for it.

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    4. EmilyG

      Right after college I briefly worked at a company that had a “work hard, play hard” type ethos, proud of working crazy hours. I think being proud of it is a natural if dysfunctional response and one that can definitely be encouraged by management to their own advantage. You see, the people who stay and keep doing the work are the strong ones, and the people leave can’t take the heat. By putting it that way, the overworked staff feel elite rather than exploited. I soon figured out that I didn’t like that style of working and have avoided it since, but it’s not a door that opens from the inside. Therefore, OP, don’t go through it to begin with!

      Reply
    5. Jamie

      Just because they are being upfront about it doesn’t mean they view it as a badge of honor. I worked crazy hours for a long time (and do when needed) and some seem to think any reference to it is an inference that it’s the way things should be or people who work long hours think it makes them better.

      Sometimes it’s just relevant and in this case awesome they are so open about it.

      Reply
      1. SanguineAspect

        Completely off-topic, but is this the Return of THE Jaime? I feel like you disappeared there for awhile–definitely missed reading your .02. :)

        Reply
    6. NoMoreMrFixit

      It’s quite common in the tech sector for the job to become a lifestyle. Not to say all places are like that but depending on the exact role you may find this more common than not. For example programmers tend to put in these kind of crazy hours while support techs usually have it more routine.

      This place is warning you that you won’t have a life working there. Believe them. And yes it is a badge of honour. To those types giving them more challenging work is considered a reward. BTDT and it was great when I was younger. Loved the nonstop challenges. Mid 50’s not so much.

      Good luck – tech is a great field to work in.

      Reply
      1. Mookie

        I mean, it’s a great field if you want your job to “become a lifestyle” and you are a cultural fit, meaning you fit their demographics and resemble them, yes. For some people, this is awesome. It’s subjective.

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        1. EasilyAmused

          I worked in Visual Effects and animation for feature films for about 8 years. 80 hour weeks were the norm. My sister once said to me, “You don’t have a career, you have a lifestyle… and your lifestyle sucks.”

          I’m now a mobile app developer working 40 hour weeks and while it’s taken me 3-5 years to gather a life outside of work back together, I couldn’t be happier.

          If you’re young and ready to put life aside for a bit, go for the job if you think the experience will buy you more flexibility later (like a year later… not 8!). But please do not make it a lifestyle!

          Reply
  2. Dr. KMnO4

    Having spent five years at a workplace that expected me to work all the time, I would agree with Alison and say don’t take the job. It’s definitely not worth it.

    Reply
      1. Dr. KMnO4

        That was my experience as well. The boss worked at least 80 hours a week and had the expectation that we would do so as well. I think we were supposed to assume that our salary was them showing appreciation. Hah.

        Reply
  3. AnotherAlison

    These are definitely red flags, but I think a lot of other factors would ultimately depend on whether I would take this job or not. You’re a career changer, so I think you have to consider that it might not be as easy to find a job as it is for a 22 year old.
    – How old are you? How much did you invest in career changing (i.e. I am just looking for jobs in another industry using my transferrable skills vs. I dropped out of the workforce and spent the past 4 years getting a degree to enter this field)?
    – How long have you been looking?
    – Are you getting lots of calls and interviews?
    – Are you able to network in your new field?
    – How much do you need to earn?

    I think the job sounds bad, but I might be able to put up with it short-term to get that first post-career change under my belt if other opportunities were not abundant.

    Reply
    1. Ultrapop

      I don’t think the fact that she is the career changer should have anything to do with it. I’m a career changer. I love my previous career in the arts, about two years ago and moved into tech. I now work for a global software company. I’m in the US but since his company is located all over the world and I work with people all over the world I understand what the companies expectations are surrounding the amount of hours we work. 40 hour work weeks are the norm. Occasionally we work a little more. People in senior executive positions work more. But everyone else pretty much sticks to the 40 hour work week and our managers encourage us to do so. Off the clock is off the clock. And I can tell you that the dev ops team is not exempt from that.

      Anyway, my point is that this is a company issue not a career changing issue. If she’s qualified enough to get a job in Tech, there’s no reason she should have to suck anything up just because she’s a career changer. Another will come along that will follow The norms that she expects.

      Reply
      1. AnotherAlison

        I agree that being a career changer shouldn’t have much to do with it, but it can. I don’t know the tech job market, but I’ve seen comments here that older career changers are frustrated that they have been turned down for entry-level jobs but also can’t get mid-level jobs in new fields.

        My intent was just that the OP needs to look at her own situation. If she’s been looking for a month, with a lot of activity, definitely pass on this one! If it’s been 6 months and this was her first interview and she is dead set on making this change asap, I might take a harder look.

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        1. AdAgencyChick

          Yup. Sometimes you do have to pay a high price to change careers, whether that’s in the form of a pay cut or taking a job in a less favorable situation than you normally would (such as this one), since it’s not easy to get a company to take a chance on someone with a lot of experience in a different field.

          It’s ultimately up to OP to evaluate the context of her situation and decide whether the crazy hours are worth it for a year or two as a stepping stone to another company in this field.

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      2. Engineer Girl

        I think that fact that she is a career changer has a lot to do with it. A company under this kind of schedule pressure will NOT give you the time off to get the training you need for a career transition. Yes, they might have a great training budget. Yes, they might make a lot of noise about the importance of training. The problem is that your manager can never spare your time so you can go to classes. And manager approval is almost always required for training. It is also required for you to help out on other group projects. If the manager is under schedule pressure it won’t happen.

        Seek instead a smallish tech company where people wear multiple hats. Others are usually happy to cross train you so they can have a backup. Larger companies are too specialized to let a non-tech get their hands on the technology.

        Reply
    2. Liane

      But this is also way out of the norms in the OP’s country (New Zealand) it sounds like. So this isn’t even expected of people needing to “pay dues” if you subscribe to that view of new jobs.

      Reply
      1. Misc

        Yup, the only kind of people who would commonly work these kind of hours in a single job in NZ are in very specific niches or are people working multiple jobs (which isn’t the same thing at all) – law interns and things, where they work a LOT, then have bonding/drinks etc which isn’t technically work but you need to show for. But it’s still not ’til midnight every day’ or anything, and they’re getting *paid* (yes interns get paid in NZ) and it’s usually a ‘short term high stakes work experience/audition’ situation. Or be some sort of high paid ‘power’ person who doesn’t know how to switch off. Or be a teacher ;D

        (Also, while 40 hours is full time, most of my jobs I’ve seen/applied for/worked at have been 37.5 hour weeks, 40 sounds like a lot to me).

        I’d be very, VERy wary of this kind of job and want to know a) how the heck are they tracking hours, (as it sounds like the sort of loose emotional pressure sort of place where everyone just ‘accidentally’ sticks around a bit longer than they should each day and once you start that it’s REALLY hard to turn your workbrain off and detach) and b) are you actually *allowed* to opt out if needed/desired?

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      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I was going to say this, too—this is truly not how things work in New Zealand.

        I’m also a little shocked by the company culture. My understanding of the NZ market was you work hard, but ideally not constantly in excess of 40h/week, and when work is done, you go tramping and loving life and whatnot (I realize that’s an overly simplistic distillation). But this company sounds like it’s embracing the worst of Silicon Valley’s workaholic, bro culture norms (technorati, please correct me if I’m wrong). The fact that they indicated that you can’t have an outside life is appalling.

        I know you’re eager to switch over OP, but this sounds like a terrible place. Is this culture a common feature of NZ’s tech industry?

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        1. Dev in NZ

          I haven’t been working too long, but I can confirm, no one at my software company does more than 40 hours a week, and neither does anyone else I know in other tech companies around. I’ve got one friend who does crazy hours but she’s in a specific, crazy industry – and she still works less than some of the people getting discussed in this thread! Hearing about US norms is pretty scary for me haha

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        2. expat Sarah

          It happens – I spent 10 years working these kinds of hours in a NZ tech startup. However, we all had stake in the company, which paid out pretty well. Also, while we worked crazy hours, it was more that we would tend to work late, go out for dinner together, come back for a couple of hours – rather than full on 18 hour days.

          I don’t think it was the norm, but it wasn’t so far out that it was odd. Or maybe I just didn’t notice.

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      3. dragonzflame

        Most definitely not normal. You might sometimes expect to work silly hours when there’s a big launch or something, and in some fields like law or medicine it would be considered usual, but most NZ professional workplaces are big on work/life balance. If only we had a Glassdoor equivalent!

        I wonder if you can look on LinkedIn to find people who’ve worked in that place previously, to see how long they’ve lasted?

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    3. neverjaunty

      You might be able to put up with it, but that’s beside the point. The OP is pretty clear that the kind of life she has, and wants to have, doesn’t fit with what she is explicitly being told about this job.

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      1. sunny-dee

        I think that’s why AnotherAlison was saying to evaluate how easy it will be for the OP to get another job and / or how important switching careers is. I have no idea about NZ, but tech *in general* looks at long hours as pretty normal and definitely paying dues or a badge of honor. Certainly not every place is like that, but a lot are, and if the OP is not getting a lot of traction right now and it’s an industry where that’s common (especially for entry level), then the question may not only be “should I take this job?” but “should I move my career in this direction?”

        Reply
        1. AnotherAlison

          Yes, at some point, it could become a decision between “this is what I want my life to look like” and “I want to this job.” I’m hoping what the OP says about the NZ job market is true and she will have many other offers that provide the type of work she wants AND great hours, but often your requirements and expectations may need to change to meet what is actually available to you in the job market.

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        2. neverjaunty

          But nothing in OP’s letter suggests this job is the key to switching careers, or that long term she is going to have to shift her lifestyle choices. She’s saying that this particular job prioritizes insane hours and workloads, and she seems to be asking, in essence, if she can ask questions to maybe find out if those unpleasant facts are different.

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          1. sunny-dee

            I don’t want to speak for AnotherAlison, but the reason her comment resonated with me is because tech as an industry tends to prioritize long hours and heavy workloads. Again, I don’t want to speak for NZ, but it’s common in other countries, not just the US. This may not be a red flag for the specific company but for the industry as a whole. That’s why AA had that list of questions — if the OP is getting a lot of interviews from other companies without these expectations, then great. The only question is whether she wants a job at this company with this workload. But if she’s not getting other offers, then that factors into her ability to switch careers. Or other but, if other jobs have similar expectations about hours and workload, then she needs to decide whether this is a good move at all. (And this also factors into the other interviews and networking bit — the OP may not be able to gauge that.)

            Reply
        3. Lives with a techie

          In my country working more than 40 hours is definitely not the norm for entry level tech. You might be expected to put in extra time to make a deadline, but then you get to take go home early or take a day off after that deadline so you still average 40 hours per week.

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  4. dr_silverware

    Ohhhh do not do this. Your gut is leading you correctly here. They’re telling you straight up that management is interested in the start-up optics of a 24/7 hackathon. It’s a sign of an unproductive team, where you’ll go home both exhausted and unsatisfied with your long day’s work.

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  5. Jwal

    I don’t think that the Saturday interview itself is a red flag (it’s not usual IME but I can see employers doing it to be flexible for people who are currently employed). What the current employees are saying though? DEFINITELY something to take note of!

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    1. Letter Writer Here

      I did chat to one of the employees, he was saying that he did 45-50h last week, but that it was a big week. He was really loving it since he finds the work really interesting.

      Reply
  6. MER

    This same situation happened to me. In my case, they made it very clear that they often work long hours, and during certain times of year, people work til midnight(!). They really emphasized it because they had had a lot of turnover with people who (rightfully so) couldn’t deal with the hours. I was coming from a work-from-home 9-5 situation, so I ended up turning it down (and successfully parlaying it into a counter-offer promotion from my employer), so it all worked out, but I was really grateful that they made it so abundantly clear!

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  7. K.

    If you don’t want to work long hours and there are ample workplaces where this is not the norm, don’t work here. They’re straight up telling you to expect to work long hours there, which is a good thing (the directness, I mean). There are many, many horror stories of companies that claim to value work-life balance during the interview process and then the new hire finds herself working 70-hour weeks. If this isn’t what you want (and it sounds like it isn’t), don’t do it.

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    1. Rainforest Queen

      This was my exact experience at my first post-college job and it was absolutely awful. OP, don’t take this job!

      Reply
  8. Purest Green

    I am absolutely not suggesting you take this job since you know you don’t want to work those kinds of hours, but I have to wonder to what extent those long hours are related to them being a small, growing business without enough staff right now to do to the work… which is a different situation than it being the culture and long-term expectation there.

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    1. TJ

      Eh, even if that’s true, the situation isn’t likely to change any time soon. If they’ve seen that they can operate this way, they don’t have much incentive to hire enough people to lighten the workload, even if they can eventually afford it.

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    2. Antilles

      The problem for OP is that a major culture change takes literally years, if not more. Transitioning from a “small growing business working 80+ hours per week” into “well staffed traditional 40 company” is long process even if the company really wants to go that direction.
      I once worked for a mid-size design firm which had, over a couple decades, transitioned from a small, workaholic startup-esque culture (in the 80’s) into a more mature firm as the original founders hit middle-age, had kids, grew into a much bigger place, etc. The founders and senior management were completely on board with making a more work/life balanced atmosphere. Yet even with dedicated management buy-in, a focused desire to shift the culture, and years of effort, they *still* had a more intense culture than most other firms I’ve ever worked at.
      It’s also worth noting that it’s not clear if OP’s company even actually sees it as a problem. “They’re great, they were here coding till midnight”. “Haha, it’s hilarious that we do a year’s worth of work in a month”. “If you have a lot going on in your life you won’t fit in here”.

      Reply
    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      That could be the case, but the way this company behaving is really out of the norm for NZ companies (including start-ups). I don’t know specifically about the NZ tech industry, and it would be helpful if OP can determine if this is common for the industry or if this company is an outlier.

      Reply
      1. Subsriba

        I am in tech in Australia, but have a lot of NZ professional contacts and friends in tech there and I have the strong impression that this is not normal. We spend a lot of time discussing hobbies, trips away, activities they do with their kids, open source work that they are doing, etc – all things that aren’t really compatible with a poor work/life balance.

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  9. Mark in Cali

    I don’t work in tech (not yet, but I am similar that I’m careering changing and getting a second degree in CS currently), but I think it’s wise to consider that often updates and migrations and tests happen overnight when people aren’t using the software or servers. Also, if they are working with overseas teams the time differences may contribute.

    That all said, based on the comments we’ve heard from the interview, I’d say it’s a bunch of people who are overworked and consider that normal and will drag you into that right along with them.

    Reply
  10. ThatGirl

    Echoing the don’t do it! I once interviewed for a BigLaw job (not being a lawyer) where the 50% raise I might have gotten would not, for me, have been worth it because I would’ve been expected to work 11-12 hour days in addition to a longer commute. It was then I realized what was actually important to me in a job.

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  11. Snarkus Aurelius

    There’s a reason Henry Ford capped the factory work day at eight hours. It’s because, on average, worker productivity dropped after that. He didn’t want workers screwing up stuff after eight hours.

    I also read somewhere that Apple would have gotten off the ground a lot sooner with fewer glitches had Steve Jobs not expected everyone to work 16 hour days/seven days a week. There’s some irony for you.

    FWIW, when I worked in the federal and state government levels, I was just as productive, if not more, than my colleagues who worked nights and weekends. Right now, I have a co-worker who does this because she thinks she can get ahead by working on a zillion projects at those hours. Come review time, she and I fared the same. (I only work on three projects.)

    Stick to your guns, OP, and don’t fall prey to the culture of busyness. It’s BS anyway.

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    1. Mike C.

      Yeah, this has been shown in a whole lot of different industries. You’ll even find this when you compare national productivity to the average hours worked. The US likes to brag about being the most productive but that’s simply because of the raw hours worked. More laid back but similarly developed nations will have lower productivity, but high productivity/per hour.

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      1. Lolli

        I agree. As a manager, the last thing I need is to have my staff burn out. This is a marathon not a sprint. I want to make sure they are fresh and ready for all of the challenges. I am in IT and my staff often has to work after hours. I compensate by allowing them other time off. An 8am to midnight shift just invites mistakes.

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    2. NW Mossy

      I’ve heard the phrase “work is a gas” before to describe the idea that work expands to fill the time you allot to it. Conversely, if you restrict the time, it forces you to make different choices to maintain productivity, like staying focused and/or dropping low-value tasks.

      I’m someone who keeps to a pretty strict 40 because I have small kids that I’d literally never see if I worked late. Over time, I’ve figured out ways to get a lot done in that span because I know I don’t have an overage of nights or weekends to tap into.

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      1. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night

        My job recently went from exempt to non-exempt, and I am now being held strictly to a 40 hour work week with few exceptions. As I previously worked 45-50 hours a week I was at a loss as to how I would ever be able to provide the same level of service to my clients, but I’ve managed to do a pretty good job at it. I’ve figured out how to eliminate a lot of inefficiencies from my workflow, and I’ve stopped procrastinating on projects so I’m not having hours of work left right before a deadline. I also tend to be more decisive about things and spend less time dithering over whether a pie chart looks better on the left side of the page or the right.

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      2. Stranger than fiction

        This is so true! I recently missed a couple days work and then dragged myself in on the third day because I knew my work was piling up. I worked a half day that day and caught up on nearly everything because I just dug in and tried to get as much done as possible, without stopping, before going home. Also helped no one was interrupting because they knew I’d been out.

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    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      Actually, we owe the eight-hour work day to unions. Ford was an early adopter of it, but unions were the ones that fought for it (with some union activists dying in demonstrations for it).

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      1. sunny-dee

        It was pretty common place, though, over 30 years before the labor laws, because of efficiency experts like the ones at Ford.

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        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          Uh… that’s not entirely true. Unions and labor contracts predate labor laws, and those contracts included things like a weekend and a forty-hour work week. If Ford was ahead of the curve in realizing this, then that’s great, but I don’t think it’s accurate to credit efficiency experts.

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            1. Outside Earthling

              My dad was a shop steward at his work in the U.K. It drives him crazy that I am increasingly feeling under pressure to work longer and longer hours. His take on it is that lots of people fought long and hard, making sacrifices along the way, so that the modern worker can enjoy a 40 hour week. Now we’re just giving up that right willingly and caving to the demands of employers.

              I know it’s not that simple but this argument had honestly never occurred to me before and it has real resonance for me.

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        2. neverjaunty

          There was literal blood shed by union members over the working conditions and hours at Ford’s factories, not to mention most other industrial jobsites. It absolutely was not “common place” to have eight-hour workdays, or any of the other things that necessarily follow that, like paid overtime or mandatory breaks.

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    4. TootsNYC

      I have been told that if you work a 40-hour week, you get 35 hours of productivity. If you work a 45-hour week, you get 38 hours of productivity. If you work a 60-hour week, you get 35 hours of productivity.

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  12. TheBeetsMotel

    This is the kind of transparency you hope a company DOES give you! If this isn’t a work life you want (frankly, neither would I), go with your gut and turn it down.

    Reply
  13. Sunshine

    I work in a field where these hours are the norm (animal care, right now veterinary but have done other animal jobs) and you know going into it that these are the hours you’ll have and that it is normal for this job. But if in this field this isn’t normal (which it sounds like it isn’t!) and you don’t wanna work those hours and you can find a job where you don’t have to-then yes don’t do it.

    Reply
  14. Amy G. Golly

    There was a point in my early 20s where I was struggling to find a job in what was my field then. My parents (who figure a good job is a good job, regardless of fit or aptitude) asked their financial planner if he could arrange an informational interview for me at his company.

    Yeah, at no point do I think they were at all tempted to offer me a job, so I needn’t have worried. But as my interviewer was showing me around the office and explaining the hours that people there worked – ugh, it sounded miserable! It wouldn’t have mattered what the salary was. I’m sure it’s not quite such a slog when the job is your passion. But still – eugh.

    Reply
  15. Roly Poly Bat Faced Girl

    One red flag I’ve heard in interviews is “we work hard and play hard.” My translation was of that was “we expect long hours out of employees and then we’ll go out and drink together.” I was glad the employer was upfront about that because while it might be appealing to others, but wasn’t for me. The OP has multiple, specific red flags here.

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    1. Amy G. Golly

      It’s too bad that “we work diligently during a reasonably allotted work period and then enjoy a balanced and satisfying home life” isn’t quite as catchy.

      Reply
    2. Mookie

      And the second part of that equation is important, too, as you’ve less of a chance at networking and rubbing elbows if your only opportunities for doing so are late nights and early mornings down at the pub, and that there’s pressure to go along to get along.

      Reply
  16. caledonia

    Sounds like the total opposite to this NZ company: New Zealand startup offers unlimited holiday and profit share to attract workers

    (Www).theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/20/new-zealand-startup-unlimited-holiday-profit-share-attract-workers?

    Reply
    1. Mike C.

      Unlimited holiday isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

      1. It relies on managers or your own workload to actually allow you go on vacation.
      2. No accrual of vacation time means that none is paid out when leaving.
      3. Not having time earned makes it more difficult to advocate (to yourself or others) that you should take a break. If you have several weeks stored up, then it becomes clear that it’s time.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        My cousin was a manager at a place w/ unlimited vacation (Best Buy).

        He had to flat-out order people to take vacation, because they wouldn’t. They’d take days here and there, but never a true vacation. He said it made a lot of extra work for him–and he had to watch out that *he* wasn’t neglecting vacation too.

        Reply
        1. copy run start

          I dream of a place with mandatory vacation . If I ruled the world, you would have to take at least 1 full week off in any 52-week period and take at least 3 weeks worth of time off in that same 52-week period. But there would be no cap on the amount of time off… just a floor on the minimum amount.

          Reply
          1. boop the first

            That would be sweet. I have a horrible guilt complex and anxiety and it took me weeks to muster up the courage to request vacation time (and then became depressed and demoralized after it was rejected yesterday).

            Reply
      2. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

        To be fair, on point #2, New Zealand has four weeks mandated vacation per year and employers would be required to ensure that at least that was getting accrued and paid out on termination if not taken. Points #1 and #3 are definitely exceptionally valid, though (although NZ has a country is pretty good about letting people take time — it takes us so bloody long to get anywhere else!!)

        Reply
      1. Wannabikkit

        At least Dunedin’s house prices haven’t reached insane levels yet! You can get more for that $35k than you can in Auckland.

        Reply
  17. Anonymous Poster

    It’s fantastic that they’re being so open about their expectations! I wish one particular employer was as upfront about the expectations and the realities as it sounds like this place is.

    It sounds like based on your priorities this place wouldn’t be in the cards for you, and it sounds like your’e reading everything right here. Kudos to your instincts and to the company, because it’ll help you self-select out if that is the best choice, or go into this job eyes wide open.

    Personally I’d opt out of a place with hours like that now, but earlier in my career I might have taken it depending on what the place did and if I really liked it. It all depends, but it’s really nice they’re so open about it.

    Reply
  18. FD

    Always remember that interviewing is a two-way street. You’re supposed to be interviewing them as much as vice-versa. Here, they’ve been really honest about the fact that they don’t support a good work-life balance. Some people may not mind working like that, but it sounds like you do. Be honest and politely step down.

    Reply
  19. moss

    You could take this job if you ask during the offer “What are the expected working hours?” Then they tell you 12+ per day or whatever and you say “I can’t support that schedule; I can do 8 hours per day.” If they are ok with that you can take the job and hold the line (leave at 5 every day).

    In other words, if you make it clear during the offer stage that you won’t allow job creep to take over your life and then ACTUALLY NOT ALLOW IT, you could do it.

    Whether you want to try this, as a junior person, is up to you, but that’s one way to do it.

    Reply
    1. Kyrielle

      OP, I would still hesitate under these circumstances. Some places would reluctantly agree, but you would forever stand out as the person who didn’t care enough / didn’t pull their weight / etc. Your coworkers would judge you; your bosses might judge you, unconsciously if not overtly.

      In a company where the game is how long you spend in the office, you will be judged on that metric, no matter what promises are made. Maybe not by the person who made the promise, but that won’t change everyone else.

      Reply
      1. Uzumaki Naruto

        Yeah, I agree. They aren’t going to change. They’ve already told you what their firm culture actually is, and that outweighs any statements to the contrary.

        Reply
      2. LoiraSafada

        100% agree, and you cannot take people at their word when they say you can leave at 5 during the hiring process. Having worked somewhere like this, you will absolutely be judged negatively for getting your work done in 8 hours and leaving, while the person that gave the illusion of productivity that was really just in their seat for 12 hours will be lauded. Keep in mind that this was somewhere with mandatory 10 hour work days on Monday and where no one ever worked less than 45 hours a week.

        Reply
    2. Letter Writer Here

      I had a conversation with them yesterday and we did talk about this (see my top-level post below). In the end it sounds like their hours aren’t as bad as I thought and I have made clear that I’m not a person who can do lots and lots of overtime, so they’d be hiring me on that basis.
      They are quite keen to have someone stay medium/long-term or at least not leave after a year, so I framed it to them on that basis – preventing burnout and being able to keep that commitment.
      I’m still cautious, and totally see what the other responders to this post are saying, but I feel a lot better about this after our talk.
      So, now we discuss salary …

      Reply
  20. AnitaJ

    It sounds like you should really take what they’re saying to heart and assume they’re giving you an accurate picture of their culture. I will say, however, that I recommend not always taking people’s comments at face value when it comes to their work hours/schedule. I’ve been in quite a few interviews with past peers where they made jokes and comments about how busy we all were, how hard we worked, how crazy it was all the time, and…they exaggerated. They emphasized how nuts it was in order to make themselves look and feel important. The culture of busy and the culture of complaining about workload was something that they really did bring upon themselves. I work in an environment now where lots of people work long hours, but I’ve set boundaries for myself and I don’t go overboard. I am efficient enough to complete my work within a 40-42 hour work week, and I prioritize my work/life balance. I’m fortunate enough to have a supervisor who supports this, but if I didn’t, I would find out how to make it work, or leave.

    Blah blah blah, I guess what I’m saying is, it sounds like this isn’t the job for you, but just remember that sometimes people aren’t totally telling the truth.

    Reply
    1. Wing Girl

      Agreed that it could be worthwhile to confirm the expected work schedule should an offer be made. We recently had a position open where some of the candidates would be internal transfers. One internal candidate was upfront that he didn’t want to work weekends regularly. We were able to discuss the demands of the job and the options available to each employee for their work schedule. He accepted the job and works only M-F, but slightly longer days than I do. My preference is to get out of the office on time during the week, but I will work a few hours on the weekend if necessary to keep up with the workload. His preference is to be completely away from work on weekends but will stay longer during the week. Our office has the flexibility for these types of schedules and it all works out with each person being able to have the work-life balance they prefer.

      Reply
      1. AnitaJ

        Right! And it’s so awesome to find those workplaces. I check my email nights and weekends, but that’s because I prefer to have an overall sense of what’s happening at any given time. Some people completely shut off after 5pm on Fridays and that’s just fine too. It’s all very relative.

        (Also, I realize that my comment sounded very negative towards my former coworkers, and I didn’t mean to be rude. They were lovely people, they just were not giving a completely accurate picture of the situation.)

        Reply
    2. LoiraSafada

      My assumption would actually be that they work even more than they’re letting on, based on my experience, and not that someone is purposefully overblowing how much they work.

      Reply
    3. Letter Writer Here

      I’ve written a comment below, but I did ask a lot of specifics about their working hours and it seemed a lot more reasonable than I’d thought. Of course I can’t trust that 100%, but I made my point of view clear so that my expectations are out there, too.
      They also alluded to a previous hire who didn’t work out that well because he was a bit of a loafer, so I think part of it was trying to avoid that situation again …

      Reply
  21. CDM

    I do think there are red flags, based on what you’ve been told so far, but but I don’t think they rise to the level, yet, of just walking away. What you quote is vague enough that you should seek clarification.

    I’d probably preface my questions with something along the lines of: “I appreciate that you have already told me that the company does have long work hours at times. In order to make sure that we both are a good fit with each other, I’d like to ask for a bit more detail.”

    “Interviewer A said the staff work from 8:30 to whenever. Can you give me a sense of what time in the evening 75% of the staff have typically left by?”

    There’s always going to be outliers working late, this will tell you if most people leave at a reasonable time most days, or if this is a place that will give you side-eye for leaving at 6.

    “Interviewer B said the dev team was coding until midnight around the time we spoke. About how many days per year does that happen? Does the company pay overtime or offer comp time when deadlines require extended work hours like that? Are days like that usually scheduled in advance or last-minute decisions?”

    Again, valuable info, but does it happen once a week? Once a month? 3-4 days a year? Big difference. A product install that takes until midnight that is planned in advance and you get another day off is way different than being told at noon that you need to stay late tonight uncompensated.

    Then figure if that company is reasonably compatible with the rest of your life.

    Reply
    1. Maggie98765

      I think is OP asked those types of questions, she would not get the offer. Which sounds like it would be a good thing, but some people are taught to always get the offer. Say whatever it takes, you can always turn it down later, etc.

      Reply
    2. MashaKasha

      I’m willing to bet $10 that the hiring manager would be, “nah, it’s all good. Maybe an extra hour here and there…” Which may or may not be true. I’ve yet to see a hiring manager who’d tell a candidate, Oh yea, we work them to death, thank you for asking. (at least based on my interviewing experience).

      Reply
      1. OhNo

        I think that depends on the culture of the company. If this place is proud of their long hours (which it sounds like they might be), they’re more likely to be honest. People usually only lie about things they’re ashamed of, after all.

        If OP asks, though, they’d at least have a basis to push back on odd hours if they take the job and discover that the hiring manager lied.

        Reply
    3. Letter Writer Here

      I spoke with them yesterday and did have quite a plain conversation (see my post below). Basically, I did frame it as clarifying expectations and ensuring a good fit, and it was a good discussion. I was honest and outright said not to hire me if it’s a life-consuming job. They assured me it was not a 60h/week job and it’s 40+, but not usually a lot over 40. I feel good about having been quite clear about my own needs/expectations. If we meet on salary then I think I will take it. And if they do overwork me, then I can always put in six months or a year and then leave.

      I wish I’d been able to read your post beforehand, though, because those are great scripts. I especially like the one about the midnight situation.
      When/if we get to the paperwork stage I’ll read the contract carefully and perhaps ask some more specifics then.

      Reply
  22. Monique

    I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this, but at a tech company, you may also have on call responsibilities. If you haven’t asked you should.

    Reply
    1. MashaKasha

      ^ +1000 and ask for details if yes. How many people on the rotation, is it just evenings or nights and weekends too, etc.

      Reply
    2. Letter Writer Here

      Hi there, good point. I wouldn’t be doing that kind of work though. Also I have to commute a bit, so it would be difficult for me to come in at strange hours as public transport likely doesn’t run then.

      Reply
      1. MashaKasha

        Oh, that’s usually done remotely. I was so happy when, in my first week on the new job, they gave me a pager, a company cell phone, and a company laptop (not a common thing in 2000). Then I learned what those things were for… yikes!

        Reply
  23. The Kurgen

    Alison’s advice is spot on as usual. All I can add is how great that the company didn’t try to hide the fact that employees work long hours! Sometimes you don’t find this out until you’re in the job and it’s too late. To paraphrase a wise person, when a company tells you who they are, believe them!

    Reply
  24. MashaKasha

    It is really cool that they are being upfront about it. Few interviewers are. For my OldJob where I was on call 24×7 on a three-people rotation (and hated it), I had a panel interview with six people and the 24×7 part went something like this: “How do you feel about being on call?” – “What’s on call?” – “Congratulations, you’re hired”.

    I only had one job interview in my life where an interviewer was open about their workplace flaws. It was a large company with strict hours and strict dress code. My kids were in preschool and first grade at that time, and I definitely could not do the strict hours, because I could not predict to the minute how my every morning would go. The manager that interviewed me first, downplayed both “eh, they’re not as strict”. But then he left and sent a developer in to interview me, and the developer was very open about both things being a big issue. (“We start at 8:00. If you come in at 8:05, you get stares.”) so I turned the job down, and apparently I wasn’t the first one to do so. All other places I interviewed for, I had to pay close attention to hints and slips of the tongue to deduce a workplace culture. Part of me wants to work on the same team with these guys just because they’re being so honest. But, no. Those are crazy hours. Don’t take the job, OP. Maybe you’ll still get to work with some of the people that interviewed you in their (and your) next job, because nobody lasts very long in these conditions; they are going to leave.

    Reply
  25. Amber

    I work in the computer game industry which has a reputation for certain companies doing “crunches” to get a game out on time which might mean months of 12 hours days. So I ask questions like “Lets say we’re close to a milestone but it’s clear there is too much work to get done in the time we have, how does the team handle it? Do you scope the work back or does everyone work overtime?”

    A good manager’s answer will be something like “If there is too much work, I see that as a failure of management, we do everything we can to prevent that but there will occasionally be some crunch, maybe 1-2 weeks out of the year will have longer hours” But if you get an answer that isn’t an answer or doesn’t sit right with you, ask more directly. Something like “In the last year, how many weeks or months has your team worked overtime?” or “What are the hours like? I really value my work like balance. Is it an actual 8 hour day or will I looked down upon if I don’t stay late?”

    This is a good example of you interviewing the company right back to see if it’s a fit for you.

    Reply
    1. ZVA

      I think this is great advice; I came here to suggest that the OP ask this kind of question! It does seem pretty clear that this company expects long hours, but it can’t hurt to ask for more info (“You mentioned that the dev team was coding til midnight; is that common around here?” or something like that), and to make her needs known at the same time. There’s really no downside that I can see. It sounds like this company is pretty open about their culture, so OP is likely to learn some valuable info; and if her needs are a dealbreaker for them, that means it wouldn’t have been a good fit in the first place!

      Reply
  26. animaniactoo

    “If you are busy and have a lot going on in your life … ” I don’t remember the exact phrasing here, but the implication (really, it was an outright statement) was that that wouldn’t be compatible with working there. (This comment was by far the biggest red flag to me.)”

    OP, I’m curious why you felt – when even in your own words it was a clear and outright statement – that you couldn’t or shouldn’t take this at face value and consider the question already answered.

    Without everything else you’ve written, I would take this to be a clear statement that extra hours are required frequently. All the rest tells me the culture is that you’re more or less expected to be so passionate and dedicated to the work that this fulfills you, and you bond closely with your co-workers as your form of socialization on this passion project.

    It sounds like you got all that too. Honestly, I’d guess that the reason you couldn’t figure out how to “probe” this is because you knew you already had your answer and so did they, and any form of asking would make you look like you weren’t accepting it. So what stopped you from saying “Okay, that’s what the situation is” and put you in a space where you thought there was something else to probe here instead of making a decision based on the answer you already had?

    Reply
    1. neverjaunty

      +10000.

      OP, one thing that’s hard to do is to accept when a good opportunity we’d love to have really isn’t one. It sounds like what you’re asking AAM for is a script to reconcile ‘this company works insane hours that don’t fit my lifestyle’ and ‘I really want this job’. No such script exists. And rationalizing mismatches like that is how we end up in jobs and relationships that are a mess.

      Reply
    2. Letter Writer Here

      Valid question. I guess it’s because I’m entering a new field. I feel a lot of pressure to take basically any job to establish myself (plus, I’m getting loooow on cash), and also I know that in any field a certain amount of dues-paying is required. So, I needed a reality check to see if my expectations were out of whack.

      In fact, we did talk again yesterday (Monday) and I asked about this all quite plainly – see my post below. They were receptive to talking about it – I’m really glad that I brought it up. We discussed expectations and I made it clear (really, outright stated) that work-life balance is important to me and that I would burn out in a really long-hours jobs.
      It seems like they still want to move forward with me, so I think it’s worth taking the chance here.

      Reply
  27. Stephanie

    I even had a job interview where they were even more direct. The HR rep during the initial screen was like “This is not a 9-to-5 job. Is that ok? We just want to be upfront as soon as possible with candidates” (This was consulting at one of the Big 4 Firms.)

    Honestly, I appreciated it. SecondJob hired a lot of former employees of FirstJob (FirstJob was at a government agency and SecondJob was a private sector company doing consulting in the same area as the agency) and spun “We have better work-life balance than the agency!” which was sort of true, but you just ended up working 50-55 hours a week versus 60-65 hours. Not really that much of an improvement.

    Reply
    1. MashaKasha

      I had one where the job ad said “must be able to work long hours”, which looked frightening. I asked them at the interview, “how long are we talking?” and the two managers that were interviewing me looked at each other and said, “oh, 45-hour weeks if needed”. Uh, no, not buying. 45 if needed isn’t even a blip on the radar for most jobs, so I walked away from that interview with the impression that it would really be a lot more than that.

      Reply
    2. Freya UK

      It’s really good they brought it up at the initial screen. In my current job I made it clear in the interview that I’m staunchly a ‘work to live’ person, then 4 weeks in the MD pulls me aside and uses the phrase “This isn’t a 9-5 job and you seem to be a 9-5 person” – I was like, (in my head, obvs) “mate I don’t even want to be here until 5pm so don’t start that sh!t with me”. My contract says 9-5 and I made it clear that’s the most they’ll ever get from me. I’m sticking it out for practical reasons at present, but I got lied to / they concealed numerous things during the interview, I was ready to leave on the second day.

      I just wish that employers were more upfront – it doesn’t serve them to lie anyway, someone might love this enviroment, but instead they’ve got me, pretending to care while marking off the days and weeks (literally) until the earliest date I’ve decided I can hand my notice in.

      Reply
  28. Returnee

    As someone who has recently moved back to NZ and has spent their life in tech, I say take the job. Your first job in many ways will set your trajectory, and if good building blocks are there (which it sounds they are from the desccription provided – not small but not big, training opportunities etc) it’s worth sucking up for a while. TBH too, there’s a big learning curve in the junior roles and IME many new starters take quite a while to become productive (not saying this is the case for you, just having been on both the junior and senior side of it). Tech is one of those fields too that in many areas there’s continual learning required and reasonably expected that you do some of this on your own time. I’m not sure what you’ve career changed from, nor what sort of tech (dev a different kettle of fish to PMing) but my experience in multiple IT roles in Australasia have always involved a level of dues paying when you start. I’ve always been happy with the flexibility and pay-off down the track, but I’ve never had a pure 9-5 role. For a first job in the industry, I’d take this and the experience gained for a year or 2 – most of my roles have been for round 2 years, IT is a bit of a special case in that relatively frequent job changes are not necessarily a negative (and being stuck one place too long can be) – if the hours remain too crazy you will be able to use your newly gained experience for another role.

    Reply
    1. Letter Writer Here

      Thanks, I really appreciate your perspective.
      I talked to the company again yesterday (see post below) and given the outcome of that, I’m strongly leaning toward taking it. They are very supportive of learning etc, and that’s a big priority for me. They are also quite realistic about the fact that it does take a while for junior devs to be productive, which I think is a good thing. From other comments they made, I think that the emphasis on hard work etc is partly due to not wanting juniors to think that they can coast and just learn.
      I think it’s worth the gamble to establish myself and gain the experience.

      Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      One thing to remember if you take this job is that, when you start working long hours, it can become hard to job-hunt for the next job. You end up losing contacts w/ your network (bcs you’re working through lunch), and you don’t have time or energy to look for new openings, work on resumes and cover letters, etc.

      If you’re going to take it, then start thinking about “the next job” from the moment you start. Even if you don’t leave for 2 years, always think, “the job after this one…” and “when I start job-hunting…”

      Reply
  29. Kiwi

    I’m in tech in NZ, in a big company by NZ standards. Entry-ish engineers end up working 40-45 hours a week. The demands get higher as you rise through the company, so senior engineers will have a few days a year where they have to work till 10pm ish or at the weekend, but most of them have a typical work week still around 45 hours.

    But I agree with other commenters that it’s worth assessing how hard you’re finding your job search. It might be worth you toughing it out for 2 years just to get your foot in the door.

    Reply
    1. Letter Writer Here

      Hi fellow Kiwi! It’s nice to see a local commenter. I’m guessing you’re at Trademe or Xero or a similar kind of place, have you been there long?

      Yeah, when we talked again yesterday it seems the expectation is more like 40-45h/week. That I can do. And considering the other plusses of this workplace – and as you say, the challenge of getting your foot in the door – I think I probably will take it if offered.

      Reply
  30. Letter Writer Here

    Hi all, I’m the letter writer.

    So, we had the conversation yesterday and I asked about this quite directly. I made it clear that work-life balance is important to me and that I want to avoid burnout. In fact I was blunt and told them not to hire me if this is a 60h/week job or approaching that.
    We had an honest conversation and my doubts were soothed quite a lot. They said, no, it’s definitely NOT a 60h/week job, and while a bunch of the people do work more than 40h, it’s not required, and the overtime isn’t a huge amount. And some people do work an even 40h. I got the impression that i would be encouraged to do some more, mainly for my only learning, but I wouldn’t be penalized if not.
    I think they respected me for raising these issues to be honest.

    So, I think I’m going to take the plunge. Considering the positive aspects of this place, I’m willing to take a calculated risk. Also, I’ve made it very clear that I need work-life balance, and they would be hiring me with that knowledge. So if my hours do creep up, I think I could push back – I would at least try. Now, I just have to see if we can come to terms on salary.

    To answer a question raised above: I haven’t had many other bites. I haven’t been job searching for toooo long, but most applications just disappear into the void, and my financial situation isn’t looking too sharp. So it would be pretty good to start working soon!

    Thank you everyone for commenting, I’ll now go to write some individual responses.

    Reply
    1. KiwiInOz

      Hey if you’re looking again down the track, consider Australia. My impression (from working in tech in both Australia and NZ) is that Australia has a more laid-back work culture than NZ and labour law is more generous.

      It is a bit too hot though.

      Reply
      1. Letter Writer Here

        I could earn more money in Oz, no doubt! But I’m here for the foreseeable future. Thanks for the comment though :)

        Reply
    2. EW

      This was what I was going to comment – it seems like you didn’t really miss out on anything by meeting with them and being upfront about your reservations in regards to work life balance (or life balance as some companies are calling it these days).

      I hope you can come to terms on salary and wish you luck with the transition!!

      Reply
    3. Rocky

      Great update, LW! I hope you find it works for you. And if it doesn’t, you’ve got some good info from other tech employees in NZ (I’m in Wellington) about how the industry operates.

      Reply
  31. babblemouth

    Some people thrive with this kind of work pace, but it’s really not for everyone. Now, ti would be mroe helpful if they outright said “they average work week around here is 60 hours” and then followed with the extra compensation you (hopefully) get in exchange, but at least they’ve dropped enough hints that you know what you’re walking into.
    If you want to have one last clarification you could ask outright “Many remarks that have been made by the various people I talked to hinted that the work week is regularly well over 40 hours. How many hours a week do you actually work?” and then follow up with questions on compensation after that. The people who work insane week don’t do the extra work for free, and you might find that the extra compensation makes it worth your while – or you might find that your free time is worth more than that to you.

    Reply
  32. Chaordic One

    I’m glad the OP brought up the subject directly. It seems like she received a direct answer.

    I’m curious about what other people say about the organization and what it’s reputation is like. Are there any reviews on Glass Door? If so, what are the reviews like?

    Reply
    1. Letter Writer Here

      It’s not a very big place so nothing on Glass Door, sadly!
      I think it has a pretty good reputation as a company, but it’s not prominent enough to have a reputation of what it’s like to work there, like there is for the local big tech players. This company often hires people out of high school and train them up, too, so it’s a bit different than most places.

      Reply
  33. Junior Dev

    I was in your position a little over a year ago. I was breaking into tech and I took a job that had a lot of red flags.

    One thing that was different, though, was that it was a part-time, hourly internship. So even when the weird and inappropriate stuff that happened there threatened to drive me up a wall, I at least has sufficient downtime to recover from it.

    I’d keep looking. A job that makes you miserable and exhausts you to the point where you aren’t able to look for other jobs or do other things to further your career is not a good idea. I know it feels really hard to get that first job, and it is, but unless you can genuinely say you’d be OK with such an environment this is not something I’d compromise on

    Reply
  34. Job hopper

    My pov is that you should take the job barring something like a chronic health condition or really young kids and keep the job for a year. You may need to ignore the red flags to get the experience you want in the short term to be able to change careers.

    Reply
  35. 14years

    Also, “badge of honor” sometimes equals office martyr or constant one-up-manship, both of which can get really annoying really quickly.

    Reply
  36. ArtK

    I walked away from a potential job. During the interview, they said “we’re working long hours to get the project done. 60 hour weeks and 18 hour days.” I asked “how long do you think this will last?” I’m used to crunch-time in projects. The killer was the response: “Oh, the next two or three years.” The CEO had a habit of demanding impossible deadlines and people having to bust themselves to make them. I interviewed there three different times and each time walked away thinking “why did I bother?”

    Reply
  37. PNW Jenn

    Years ago I interviewed for an out-of-state job doing international student advising at a university. An off-handed comment by an interviewer led me to the discovery that the caseload was twice that typically found at other schools, and the work hours reflected that reality. I returned home and withdrew my candidacy a few days later. The hiring manager snottily told me that my interview wasn’t an “all expenses paid vacation”. His comment confirmed to me that I had made the right choice.

    Interviewers often forget that interviews, done correctly, are a two-way discussion to determine whether it’s a good fit for each party. A candidate is under no obligation to accept an offer for it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a good fit.

    Reply
  38. Ashley

    Run! IMO working until Midnight should not be so casually discussed. Especially when you start at 8am. I HATE it when employers make it should like insane overtime is super fun and bonding time. People may be making the best of it, but that doesn’t mean that it is enjoyed.

    So those people working until midnight don’t have kids, spouses, pets or other activities?

    Work/life balance is a buzz word that usually isn’t a business priority but this company seems to have taken it to another level. Ask all the questions you want answered and try not to worry about how you will be percieved. They already seem unreasonable so it is better to know that now.

    Reply
  39. Tyler Czerwinski

    This is definitely something that could sway one from accepting a job position. I previously had a job with a similar case to this when there was a change in management. Me, along with my two other co-workers, were expected to stay after hours for a minimum of an hour to do work that was not even in our department. We were told to put away clothes throughout the entire store, in departments that we weren’t even assigned to originally. The reason this became unfair is because each department was supposed to take care of their returns without having to rely on others to pick up on the leftovers. This is not to say that helping others is wrong, but for someone to expect others to do their work for them is completely wrong in the work place.

    In your situation which is similar, I wouldn’t get involved in a job where you are going to find yourself overwhelmed with work. I believe that your psychological state of being is just as important as your physical health. Which brings another point, if you cannot find time for yourself due to such a large work load, you will not live a healthy life. So before you accept, a position, make sure you can balance yourself into your work schedule.

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