can you advance professionally without giving up your evenings and weekends?

A reader writes:

I am in my mid-20s and have always thought of myself as an ambitious person. My medium- and long-term goals are to get to positions where I can do important, interesting, and high impact work in my career, and also making enough to comfortably support a family should I choose to have children in the future. At the same time, while I believe in working hard while at work, I also strongly believe that work isn’t everything and that it’s really important to have a full life separate from work.

Something I’ve noticed as my college friends and I have entered the workforce, and also in my own online research, is that it seems like many people in mid- and senior-level positions have poor work-life balance, be they subject-area experts or managers. I understand that as you take on greater responsibilities, it is inevitable you will occasionally have to work later or answer an emergency call in the evening. However, I’m starting to get the impression that it is normal and expected for mid- and senior-level employees to routinely work 50-60+ hour weeks, spend personal time on training or skill development, and always be plugged-in, i.e. answering calls and checking email in the evenings, weekends, and even during vacations.

These impressions are all anecdotal of course, so I’m wondering: Is it normal for people to have to sacrifice work-life balance as they advance in their careers? Is it realistic to want to work in a high impact mid-to-high-level position that doesn’t eat into your personal life to such an extent?

I’m still relatively young and working at the entry-level, where work-life balance is pretty reasonable (at least in my industry), so this question is more of a hypothetical and general inquiry for me at this point, but I am curious what your thoughts on this are.

It really varies by field, but there are lots of fields where you can have a mid-to-high-level position with decent work-life balance and where you’re not expected to be plugged in every evening and weekend. There are also fields where that’s not the case, of course. But it’s not an inherent part of advancing in your career.

Since it’s so field-dependent, let’s survey readers! Readers, if you’re willing to contribute data here, enter the following in the comment section:

  • Your field
  • Your job
  • Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that)
  • Average number of hours you work per week
  • How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation
  • Any other context you want to add

{ 821 comments… read them below }

  1. Eillah*

    – Finance
    – Senior Administrator
    – Mid level, I guess? Not quite entry level…
    – 40-45
    – I’m an admin/assistant, so anything urgent I have to respond to right away. However, this has varied wildly based on who I was assisting, their own expectations, and greater company culture.

  2. Schnoodle HR*

    HR Manager
    Mid Level, I’d say, but I’m a one person HR department and that kindda makes me senior?
    Work right at 40 95% of the time, if I go over it’s an hour or two for the week.
    I always misplace my work phone at home so…never. I’ve had one emergency in the year and a half I’ve been here (employee injury on second shift).

  3. Amber*

    -Finance – Publications, Health Care & Continued Learning
    -Accounting Manager
    -Mid/Senior Level
    -Dependent on financial cycle, will often be 45-50 at year end or month end, but 35-40 remainder of the time
    -Our company culture has coverage for time off; it is not encouraged to have your work email linked to your phone however on the managerial side we will sometimes get outside of work emails that we respond to the evening but its not expected

    1. CMart*

      I’m entry level accounting (at a corporation) and my observation of my managers matches your experience.

      Directors work a bit more but are still visibly not-living at work and very pointedly make use of their 4+ weeks of vacation time.

  4. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Health software
    Director of technology
    Senior – 30 years of experience
    40 hr/week is normal. Maybe three or four times a year I need to do 45 or 50 to meet a deadline.
    I have Slack and email on my phone, but almost never get pinged on weekends or evening – only if a server goes down or something

  5. Bessa*

    Field: Non-profit (association)
    Title: Operations Manager
    Level: Mid
    Hours: 40-45
    Evenings/Weekends: There are set evening events I coordinate and am required to attend, roughly once a month. There are also occasional projects that require a few extra hours in the evenings, but they aren’t terribly frequent. I am very rarely contacted by work on the weekends/evenings, and am not expected to be available outside of those pre-planned events.

    1. Wendie*

      – Non profit (church so elements of education, finance, everything!)
      – Senior level
      – admin
      Hours – 25
      Work life balance is not always great even though the hours are just PT because we always have a lot going on. You never know when the diosce is going to drop something on you and the org makes it hard to say no. Good childcare though – all my babies grew up in the office!

    2. YoungTen*

      My husband works in NP too and has a schedule like what you described. No complaints form me. Its always in advance and because its a NP that focus on helping families, they are respectful of employees life outside of work.

  6. Jennifer*

    I work about 40 hours a week, unless something comes up where I’m overwhelmed with work, then I may work a Saturday or two.

    Work/life balance is important to me. If it is to you, it’s something to keep in mind or even ask about when you are job hunting.

    1. Bigglesworth*

      Are you in the government, private practice or somewhere else? I’m curious because I’m going to start my 3L year and a lot of attorneys I know work 40+ hours a week.

      1. PublicSector4Life*

        I commented below, but I’m a government attorney with 3 years of experience and I work about 40 hours a week with some occasional weekend work if I’ve got a big court appearance on a Monday. It’s a fantastic law job and frankly I don’t see myself leaving. I don’t get paid anything like biglaw associates (starting biglaw salary in my market is $150K, and I’m at $75K), but I get great benefits, have great colleagues, and am never expected to bill my hours/kill myself with work. It’s absolutely possible!

      2. Jennifer*

        I’m not an attorney and it’s a medium-sized firm. I hope that helps. I’m paranoid about giving too many details :)

    2. CC*

      I’m super curious on this too as I’m watching my husband burn out 6 years into the biglaw lifestyle and we’re debating whether it means a career change or if it’s possible to find a reasonable law job.

      1. Jessie the First (or second)*

        It is possible to find a reasonable law job. He ust has to get out of BigLaw to do it. I worked in BigLaw, which as you know means burnout hours. Also worked in a government law job, which meant 38.5 hours per week on the nose with no weekends or evenings (obviously, not public defender or prosecutor, which can be quite long hours), and now I am in a small, boutique, corporate law firm that prizes work-like balance, and I work 40 hours a week. If your husband wants to work in private practice, it is harder to find, but reasonable hours do exist in law.

        1. Not Me*

          I think this is highly dependent on the type of law you’re practicing. I work at a BgLaw firm (although I’m not a lawyer) and some practice groups work crazy hours and others are about 40 hrs a week.

          1. Guacamole Bob*

            Yes. My spouse is in litigation at a small firm, and the overall hours and work/life balance are reasonable averaged over time… but litigation means that sometimes cases blow up and take over your life, or things in different cases are due at the same time, or something goes to trial, and you just have to be willing to work a lot and deal with it. And the firm’s overall work load ebbs and flows, too, and so recently my spouse has been working a lot but everyone else is busy too and there’s no one to take over any of her work.

            My friends and acquaintances who are in transactional or other kinds of law have very different work flows.

            1. Anon attorney*

              Yeah, that’s litigation!
              I’m just below partner level in a midsize but high profile firm in a non US jurisdiction and I do litigation. If things are quiet, 40/week but just before a trial, I do what needs to be done.
              I’m happy with my work life balance. My firm values results over face time and I can work flexibly including work from home. I feel that when additional hours feel like a choice (as in I need to prepare X to do well, not I must go in and do X or I’ll be fired or at least marginalized) that makes a big difference.
              Just don’t ask what I get paid… But you can’t have it all ;)

      2. LD*

        I’m a lawyer as well, and worked both government and private sector. I’m currently working with a private firm that contracts with the government. In government I was putting in regular 50-60 hour weeks. In a small private firm that contracts, I average 40-50. It IS possible to get the work life balance in law, but you’re usually sacrificing in pay and prestige. For my part, I love my firm, I get by on my pay, and being able to leave the office at 3 pm on Fridays and only work a weekend or so a month is 100% worth it to me. It also puts my hours at better then 90% of attorneys I know. In law, a 40 hour work week IS cushy.

        Flipside? I have a friend making 6 figures in big law working 60-70 hour weeks. So far she doesn’t mind it. But I certainly wouldn’t trade.

      3. No Longer Indefinite Contract Attorney*

        It’s possible, but not in biglaw. You’ll have to look more at medium-sized firms that have a good reputation for work-life balance (but won’t pay as much as the average medium firm) or possibly in-house…which has its own set of issues.

      4. In-house fan*

        I’m a mid level in-house attorney and usually manage to keep to 35 to 40 hours a week. (35 hours is the standard for full time employees at my company). I do check email on my phone evenings and weekends but many attorneys don’t and as far as I know, that’s ok in terms of our company culture. In-house has its own particular pressures and occasional frustrations but work life balance is a huge plus in my experience. I would hate Big Law.

      5. Anne Elliot*

        Another government attorney in the U.S. I work 45 to 50 hours a week, which means habitually 9-hour workdays and then usually a half-day on a Saturday a couple times a month. I have no obligation to work any weekend but I find four uninterrupted hours to organize, file, catch up on emails, etc. keeps my desk from descending into chaos and squalor and therefore keeps me sane.

        I am mid/senior (?), third in seniority in an office of 11 attorneys and four support staff. I supervise three attorneys and one support person. I make right at 100K with 22 years specialized legal experience. I definitely could have made more in my career if I stayed in private practice, but I love the work-life balance in my job. No billables and very little external pressure.

    3. Not Rebee*

      Also not an attorney but do work in the legal field. I’m in-house for a technology company but my focus is primarily transactional. 40 hours per week here and rarely more than 41.

      1. Not Rebee*

        More on the entry level end though. Our department is so small, it’s very hard to tell what is entry level and what is not, since it’s basically a split between entry level and attorney.

    4. Mayati*

      Legal editor here! My company seems to do a good job of providing good work-life balance regardless of where you are in the chain of command, and the work people do on evenings and weekends seems to be mostly a function of the job’s inherent flexibility (it’s a tech company, there’s an infrastructure set up for remote work, and current policy is that people can work from home once they’ve established themselves). Yeah, managers probably work more than 40 hours sometimes, but not that much more — nobody’s sending emails at 2am unless they’re based in another time zone, and compared to litigation, everyone’s much less busy and stressed-out, so your work assignments don’t take over your brain during non-working hours.

      1. Cat*

        Legal Editor sounds like an interesting role. Do you have any thoughts on it as a career?

        1. Mayati*

          I love it. It’s intellectually stimulating without stress. I’m only speaking for myself individually, not for my company, and I definitely can’t provide a wide description of everything attorneys do here, only what I’ve seen. Anyway. If you’re a lawyer, you know that there are a bunch of legal research tools out there to help you find case law, statutes, and regulations, and see what’s good law and what’s been overruled or modified in some way. My company is one of the two big ones that does that, and I’m currently in a role where I write summaries of legal decisions and specific holdings and points of law. Before that, I was a contractor on the team that applies artificial intelligence techniques to legal documents and brings about technological improvements to our main legal product, and a lot of people working on that set of projects had IT and programming backgrounds. There are also attorney editors working on publishing and annotating statutes, regulations, and commentaries, as well as…well, a bunch of other stuff for practitioners and governments. There are a LOT of products out there, and I don’t even know what all of them are. There are even attorneys based overseas working on foreign law, but most roles like mine are in the US, since American courts issue way more written opinions than other courts, afaik.

          It was pretty easy to get hired as a contractor after law school, with a few years of experience — they did seem to prefer people who had experience in practice, but some contractors were fresh out of school — and after a bad experience with a small firm, I really liked the workplace culture, but the potential downside to the work is it can be solitary once you’re out of training. In my particular role, they wanted to hire people who would stick around, since they invest a lot in order to train us. I don’t know if that’s true for all attorney editor roles here, but in my department, there are a bunch of people who have been around for 20, 30 years, so there seems to be a lot of stability, as long as you’re able to keep up your quality and productivity. In my role, you also have to be able to work independently basically all day, but also very open to constructive criticism, since the vast majority of the feedback you get after training is “hey, this sentence doesn’t make sense” or “you missed a comma” or “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” And I find it really helps to be motivated by continued learning, because in my role, we’re all generalists — we take almost all types of cases and have to summarize them for lawyers who specialize in those areas of law.

          Anyway, there aren’t a lot of companies that have legal editorial roles, but there are people who do legal editorial work for a bunch of state legislatures. Some courts produce their own notes on points of law in certain opinions, but those might be written by clerks.

    5. hazel*

      Legal, 3 years post-qualification experience which is how we count it in NZ
      Government service
      40 hour weeks except when something is legitimately and objectively urgent, which is pretty rare – I’m working most weekends at the moment, but that tends to be for a period of 1-2 months every couple of years.

      It doesn’t pay like biglaw, but the work/life balance is much, much better.

    6. Mockingbird*

      Legal (IP transactional attorney)
      30 hours (part time)
      Plugging in nights/weekends/vacation is discretionary unless I know a matter I’m working on needs attention. I usually check my email a couple times a day when I’m on vacation and respond, but only work more than that if necessary (which is pretty rare).

      I’m in a fairly large firm in a somewhat smaller market. I negotiated a part-time schedule with my firm over 20 years ago when my kids were little, and they still made me a shareholder about 15 years ago. The kids are grown now but I’ve kept the part-time schedule because I’m just happier that way. I’ll never be a mover and shaker in the firm but that’s a trade-off I’ve cheerfully made.

    7. Annie on a Mouse*

      Attorney as well; I’m in house at a large corporation. I came to this company straight out of law school and am about 2.5 years in, so still entry level. I generally work between 40 and 50 hours a week, although in busy periods it can run closer to 60. I check my phone occasionally on nights and weekends, but also have the flexibility to decide if a a matter is urgent or can wait for Monday. I love this. That said, we don’t really have coverage for vacations, so it’s more postponing work than taking time off (any advice on how to truly recharge would be much appreciated! Perhaps better for the open thread).

    8. Mrs. Picklesby*

      Biglaw paralegal for senior partner in commercial litigation. I have 25+ years in industry.

      During a normal week I work around 40 hours. During crunch times I’ve pulled a few 12-hour days. My position supports any case or client that my attorney handles, so I’m always busy. The attorneys are ALWAYS connected and often work on evenings, weekends, holidays, and even during vacations. Non-exempt staff aren’t allowed to work outside of the office, which is a blessing in disguise for me!

    9. Tedodore*

      – Also a lawyer, mid/senior in-house (finance in Europe)
      – About 40-45 hours a week
      – Occasionally a late call during the week. I never work in the weekend. On vacation I’ll check my emails maybe twice a week or may get a text from my boss with a simple but urgent question.

  7. AMPG*

    Non-profit, COO, senior management. I probably work 50 hours/week, all told. I report to the CEO, who is an early bird, while I’m a night owl, so while I’m not officially expected to be plugged in on off hours except in an emergency, I do check email immediately when I get up just to manage that relationship properly. And I work from home in the evenings and on the weekends (I try to keep it to just an hour or two on the weekends) because there’s too much work to do otherwise, plus it’s the easiest way to find uninterrupted work time.

    To be fair, a good amount of this is just due to the nonprofit world in general, and I probably have a typical work-life balance (or better, honestly) compared to my peers in the same field.

    1. MsM*

      Yeah, I think the nonprofit stats are probably going to stress out poor OP, because you’re frequently working without the assistance someone in a similar for-profit role might have. And even if you’re trying to unplug, if you run across a relevant news item, you’re going to want to alert other people before you forget. Or maybe that’s just me?


      – Nonprofit (advocacy)
      – Development Officer
      – Mid/Senior (I’m a one-person department)
      – 45 hours on average, but it can go up quite a bit if something important with a tight turnaround comes up unexpectedly
      – See above. I think I put a lot more pressure on myself to be available than actually exists, and it’s rare that anyone takes me up on my requests to text me if it absolutely can’t wait until the morning/Monday, but I’ve come back to things I would have preferred to have been aware of frequently enough that I try to check email at least once or twice during off-hours.

      1. AMPG*

        The one thing that I suspect you’ll find across many fields is that if you’re senior enough to be managing a lot of people, you end up having to carve out time to produce your own deliverables, and often the easiest way to do that is to work late or on weekends. It’s a problem that can be solved with a little effort and creative thinking, though.

        1. Corporate Goth*

          I’d love to hear more on any success stories involving not working late as an option, if anyone’s inclined to share.

          1. Ann O'Nemity*

            I don’t work late much anymore. I made a conscious effort to improve my work-life balance, which means getting home by 6 and being present with my family. In order to do that, I try to be as focused and productive as possible at work. I prioritize and I delegate. I give realistic time estimates and regularly use Alison’s “We can do A, B, and C but not D” script. Doing all this works for me because I’m pretty good at my job and can get a lot accomplished in my regular hours if I’m 100% focused.

          2. AMPG*

            One thing I’ve done successfully is to schedule semi-regular work-from-home days. I can get a lot of writing or other solo work done and just keep up with email as needed. Another thing I do is deliberately work a slightly shifted day. Most of my coworkers leave at 4:30, so I usually work 10:00-6:00 so that I’m guaranteed an hour and a half of uninterrupted work. My boss tends to come in early and leave early for the same reason, but I always find that it’s easier to blow past an early departure with extra work, so I don’t do that.

        2. New ED*

          This is definitely me, my days in the office are full of managing people, meeting with external partners and advocacy targets, keeping up with emails and administrative things, etc. All actual writing or other work is done after hours.

      2. Rat Racer*

        – Nonprofit (advocacy)
        – Research Director
        – Senior – but in a very small/flat organization
        – 40 hours a week but I have only been here about 2 months, and I expect that could flex up from time to time

        I’d like to note that I came from a large fortune 50 healthcare company, where I regularly worked over 50 hours a week, and was able to move to this non-profit without taking a pay-cut. I think that’s kind of a miracle. I may have to change my user name, because I no longer feel like part of the rat race – and man – that is a good feeling. (However, I like my rat avatar so maybe I’ll keep it anyway…)

        1. Mrs. Wednesday*

          Nonprofit – advocacy
          Director of Development
          Senior, in a small, stand-alone national organization
          32-45 hours/week as an 80% FTE position, salaried. End of year and our annual event times are busiest.
          I wouldn’t say it’s expected, unless it’s a crisis. But I am plugged in on evenings, weekends, and sometimes vacations, though I often do this mostly for monitoring. I have complete remote access, a lot of control over my comings and goings, and I do sometimes take a shorter day in the office to do the introvert’s recharge (Netflix bingeing ALONE at home). My biggest challenge is social media: My job is easier if I embrace it but I do have to disappear from it periodically.
          I have a significant and degenerative physical disability. The choices I have now about my schedule and boundaries are so much better than earlier in my work-life. I had so little power then. My anecdotal observations are that many people who work long, long hours become accustomed to it and find it hard to shift even when they could. My best advice is be viewed as a leader at work as early on you can – and then spend the social capital it earns you to build the life you want – flexible hours, etc.

      3. Going anonymous for this one 2019*

        On the flip side of commercial organizations — look for businesses that are not running so lean that they add projects while cutting staff.

      4. Sange*

        I’m in a similar situation – senior, nonprofit, Development, 45 -55 hour weeks.

        To the OP’s original point, yes, I absolutely spent weeknights and weekends on professional development when I was in my 20s. I earned a second Master’s, published, and presented at conferences. My peers were more likely to finish work their 9-5 and be done. While it might not be critical in your field to invest in professional development outside of work hours, it helps.

    2. Washi*

      Yeah, I’m super curious about how nonprofit execs will answer. In my experience, how much entry level workers are expected to work can really vary but all the C-suite level folks I’ve known both work a lot of hours and also claim they do it because love it. (Idk, I feel like you can love your job and still only want to work 40 ish hours/week.)

      1. AMPG*

        I sort of think “I do it because I love it” is sort of BS – I do it because there’s nobody else to do the work and because I’m high up enough to feel a lot of responsibility for what happens to the organization. Now, I believe strongly in our mission and am proud of the work we do serving our community, but it’s not as if I actually love writing the reports to funders that I’ll be filing this evening.

    3. NGA*

      Exact same as you — Nonprofit, COO, senior, ~50hrs per week. I need to be reachable most of the time because we work with a vulnerable population and if there’s a liability issue, I need to know about it ASAP. But it’s rare that I need to work significantly on evenings or weekends in order to get my work done or meet deadlines. I often choose to work during some off-times because it’s quieter and my brain just works better in the evening than the morning, but I could definitely get my typical work done in a standard 10-hour day if that were important to me. I also have extremely flexible hours, so if I want to go to the gym in the morning and not start work til noon, no one bats an eye. It feels like a good trade off.

      I’ve worked with many senior people in nonprofits, and while I think most of us typically work 50+ hours per week, the biggest difference in my experience between the people who have good work-life balance and those who don’t isn’t the number of hours they work, but how diligent they are about managing their priorities and their time. The people who are constantly overwhelmed, don’t see their kids enough, don’t sleep enough, are often the people who don’t plan well, don’t delegate well, and treat their schedule/task list as something that is happening to them rather than something that they are responsible for. Conversely, the folks who set clear boundaries, name their values, and are diligent about setting their priorities, are the folks who are more balanced and better able to meet both their personal and professional commitments. Of course, there are always crazy periods and crises you need to handle that mean you need to reprioritize (sometimes moving “life” below “work” for a while), but the latter people can make that a decision, with specific parameters.

      1. EDinTX*

        Director level at a non-profit here. Average about 45-50 hours a week. Sometimes more in a crisis. I do need to be plugged in 24/7 for real emergencies – health, staffing, etc. it’s manageable because I am diligent about flexing my time when I can.

    4. Lady Director*

      Non-profit (service delivery)
      Director (development) with a team of 5
      I work between 35 and 60 a week, which is very dependent on externally set deadlines and my travel schedule
      We all have varied schedules and there’s no concrete expectation to be available outside office hours but I probably check emails on waking and mid-evening. I do very little work at weekends, which is a conscious choice.
      On vacation I’m not expected to be available except for massive emergencies however development means sometimes my leave goes up in smoke last minute

      1. SEPH*

        COO of a small education nonprofit
        35 hours per week
        I have 2 small children and do all the pickups and dropoffs so I’m incredibly protective of my time. Sometimes I work after they go to bed and occasional night and weekend events/meetings but mostly I work 10-5 and negotiated hard to get it. It has made me very picky in my job search because work life balance and commute are critical for me.

    5. New ED*

      Non-profit Executive Director
      Senior level
      45-50 hours a week
      The way I manage my work life balance is to make sure that the flexibility goes both ways. So I do a lot of evening work, on average 2 hours a night. However, I have young children and I frequently leave the office early to spend time with them and then go back to work at night. So I actually only spend about 30 hours a week in the office. The other fifteen or so hours a week I do at home in the evenings or weekends. At this point in my life, I actually find this makes for a better work life balance. I think it’s less about the total number of hours worked and more about how you make work fit into the rest of your life.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        At this point in my life, I actually find this makes for a better work life balance. I think it’s less about the total number of hours worked and more about how you make work fit into the rest of your life.

        Agreed. I don’t have children, but I occasionally take time during the day to go to the gym to run for half an hour or take a dip in the pool and do water aerobics for about 45 minutes (I work from home), and I like that I’m at a place in my life/career where I can do these things and flex my schedule to make up that time later in the evening.

    6. amf648*

      Program Director
      Mid level (whoo middle management!)
      I work about 45 hours per week on average. It should be more with the workload, but I’m able to keep it at that level because I HUSTLE during the day. I work 9-6 generally and eat lunch at my desk, rarely take breaks, and am very focused. Otherwise, it would be closer to 50 hours a week or more working at home. In the non-profit space, I would say it’s hard to move up without working over 40 hours a week given the workload a typical staffer has.

    7. vlookup*

      Finance Manager
      ~45 hours/week, but variable (was working 40-45 when I started my job, but this has crept up to 45-50 and occasionally more)
      I never, ever work on vacation and almost never on the weekend. Have increasingly started working after hours on weeknights, though.

      I’m really struggling with burnout at work right now and, like OP, questioning my long-term professional goals. All of the senior leaders in my org work seem to work 50+ hours/week and be plugged in at all hours, and I just don’t want that for myself.

  8. Valprehension*

    – Libraries (Public)
    – Mid-level
    – 35 hours/week (this is true of all full-time union staff; it’s only at management level that you might work more)
    – officially, we’re required to be completely unplugged when off the clock (because union). I can and do sometimes check my email if there’s something important going on, but that’s about it. Work-life balance is great.

    1. Valprehension*

      oh, whoops. I should add that my regular schedule involves evenings and weekends! I work two evenings/week, plus two Saturdays and one Sunday per month. This is fairly standard for all the library systems in my geographical area – the only Mon-Fri 9-5 jobs are administrative or otherwise back-of-house.

    2. Treecat*

      Similar here (sort of!)

      –Mid-level (I’m pre-tenure but have been here a few years now)
      –35-45 hrs/week
      –I occasionally work a 4 hour desk shift on the weekends, this happens about once/term, so 2-3 times per year. I’m usually allowed to take a comp day for them. I also am expected to go work at a branch library in a different location for about 1 week/year and housing & food are provided by the university. I completely unplug on vacations and don’t check email for weeks at a time. Sometimes this means re-entry is kinda painful, but it’s worth it to me.
      –Positions within my institution vary. There are people who have to work way harder than I do, those are usually the librarians involved in IT in some way. There are also people who work much less, or have part-time appointments.

      1. Cataloguer*

        – University library (UK)
        – Systems and Metadata Librarian
        – Mid-level, no direct reports, not really customer-facing.
        – 35 hours, which is our full time week (although I work them over a four day week at my request). Occasional weekend or evening supervisory shifts, but my usual hours are roughly 0900-1830.
        – Not plugged in at all, in fact it’s vaguely frowned upon! I do check my email sometimes at weekends or when I’m on leave because I like to know what’s going on and it doesn’t stress me to do so, but there’s absolutely no expectation that I do so and my manager sometimes jokingly tells me off for it.
        – Some of the more senior managers do work slightly longer hours or check emails from home, but there’s not an expectation to do so (that I’m aware of), and when they’re on leave they definitely don’t. There are occasional projects or busy periods that might require overtime; that’s paid back with overtime pay for lower grades, and TOIL for higher grades.
        (In the UK, there’s no tenure or anything for university librarians, I’m not aware of that being a thing here.

        1. Anne of Green Gables*

          Also Library.
          –Community College
          –mid-level, branch manager, 7 direct reports
          –40 hours is standard, I sometimes work closer to 42-44 but more during busy times of the semester
          –my schedule includes mostly Mon-Fri daytime hours with occasional evening coverage and rare Saturday coverage (half day)
          –My staff know they can call me anytime; I’d say I get maybe 2 or 3 emergency calls a year for major stuff. I am very unplugged when I’m not at work and rarely check my email on evenings, weekends, or vacations. Many of my vacations are camping related so I don’t even have internet access and I put that right in my calendar. I have colleagues who are much more plugged in during evenings and weekends but it is by their choice, not dictated by our employer.

          I do want to say that I spent the first 10+ years of my career in public libraries and there, evening and weekend hours were pretty much a given no matter how long you had been there. It was still 40 hours a week but unless you were in one of very, very few positions, you were gong to work nights and weekends.

    3. Canonical23*

      -Also libraries!
      -Mid/Senior Level
      -Assistant Director
      -40ish hours/week
      -I’m salaried so I technically can work more, but I rarely work more than 40 hours (I think my max was when a bunch of technology started falling apart one week and we were supremely understaffed, so I clocked in around 45 that week)
      -To get to this position, I have definitely worked much harder than I should have had to, but never overtime, more just juggling multiple projects at the same time.
      -I check my email for about 5 minutes on my days off. I rarely respond – my staff know to directly call me if it’s an emergency and that I’ll respond to emails when I’m back in the office. I just prefer to keep an eye on things while I’m having coffee on my days off so I don’t walk back in unaware of what happened.
      -The only downside to my schedule/hours is that because we’re a public service, I do work weekends and evenings pretty regularly (though not extra – as part of a 40 hour schedule)

      1. schnauzerfan*

        Another librarian
        -Mid/Senior Level
        -Part of the management team
        -40ish hours/week
        -I’m salaried so I technically can work more, but I rarely work more than 40 hours, very few evenings or weekends, except during our 10 week film series. That’s 3-4 hours Sunday evenings, but I usually manage to average about 42-3 hours even then.
        -I also check my email for about 5 minutes on my days off and answer urgent patron questions at that time.

    4. tink*

      I’m also Libraries (Public).
      – Entry-level
      – 40 hr/wk (in our system only managers and senior staff work more than 40/wk)
      – We’re also unplugged outside work hours. I have work email on my phone, but I typically don’t look or respond unless it’s something urgent from my manager about schedule/getting time in/etc.
      – Evenings and weekends are absolutely required. I work 1-2 evenings a week and at least 2 Saturdays a month. My work/life balance is a little rough because we moved for my partner’s job and now my commute home in the evenings is about an hour.. My partner gets off work 2 hours before me, so the 3 hours I’m home and awake are a scramble of dinner/cleanup/relax.

    5. Wantedaclevernamebutfailed*

      -Libraries (Public)
      -Mid-level (9 direct reports)
      -40 (rare) to 55 hours/week
      -Plugged in unless I am on vacation, even then I occasionally get phone calls or emergency texts from staff
      -Almost everyone is expected to work one evening shift and one weekend a month. My full time staff do not have rotating weekends because I hire part-time staff (usually students) for the weekend shifts. The main reason I work over 40hrs/week is because I am covering gaps in coverage due to PTO request or call ins. I am the only exempt person in my department and we are not budgeted for any overtime hours so I end up picking up the slack.

      1. Louise Penny Fangirl*

        -Libraries (Public)
        -Director, 15 direct reports
        -35 hours a week, more as needed (rarely over 40)
        -I tend to keep up on email on vacation because it’s easier when I return, but don’t look at it at night/weekends; occasional calls/texts when I’m not in (mainly for problems)
        -I usually work 1 night a week plus 1 Saturday a quarter. If there’s a major problem, I’ll come back in to help if I can’t talk my staff through it. As director I have a lot of freedom to move my hours around as needed. I try to give staff that same freedom for doctor’s appointments, kids events, etc. (as long as someone is at the desk, I don’t much care who.) I’m also able to work from home if my son is sick or something else comes up. As you move up, I recommend making sure you’re letting staff have flexibility if possible. It makes for more loyal staff and better working conditions.

  9. She's One Crazy Diamond*

    Hello! I work for a public environmental protection agency, and I am an administrative specialist (not administrative assistant). I am mid-level, I work exactly 40 hours per week, and am not supposed to check email on evenings, weekends, vacation, unless I am unexpectedly out and need to communicate that to my team. Public agencies in general are super awesome about work/life balance, but there are other aspects of it that’s not for everyone, so definitely do your research if you’re considering it.

    1. ArtisticScientist*

      As someone who would love to work for an environmental agency (currently working on phD), this makes me happy. Unfortunately, the political climate makes me anxious.

      1. CheeryO*

        I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much. The tides will turn eventually, and there will always be work related to basic environmental protections. I would recommend looking into state agencies, especially in blue states, if you want to be more sheltered from the politics. My state agency is still chugging along just fine – we’ve lost some of our discretionary budget, but we haven’t had any layoffs (and I work in a division that gets half its funding from EPA).

      2. Contractor*

        I think it’s less the current political climate and more that government jobs (at least federal) have been declining for many years. Most people I know who work with things like NOAA/EPA/USGS etc are all contractors with indefinite ends to their contracts. So when it does come time to search, make sure you check in with common contracting agencies. Often working at the agency in one of these positions can help you get into an actual gov’t position when a job opens up.

    2. Ace in the Hole*

      “Public agencies in general are super awesome about work/life balance, but there are other aspects of it that’s not for everyone”

      Very much this! I’m also in public service. I’m mid-level within my (very small) agency, probably entry to mid level in the career field as a whole. For the most part we put in 40 hours and go home – no checking emails or being expected to take work calls after hours. I usually work one extra day every 1-2 months from coming in on my regular day off to cover for colleagues’ time off. Some mid level positions in my field have an on-call rotation for weekend emergency coverage, which usually means being on call one weekend every six to eight weeks.

    3. CheeryO*

      I also work for a (state) environmental agency. I’m an engineer, between entry and mid-level. We work a strict 37.5 hours per week. I believe upper management folks are under a separate contract and do work slightly longer hours, but it’s still nothing compared to people in the private sector – maybe 45 hours per week on average. And only the very highest level folks are plugged-in after-hours. Even my boss’s boss doesn’t take work home with him, as far as I’m aware.

      It depends on the agency, but it’s definitely possible to have a fulfilling career in government, and you really can’t beat the work/life balance.

    4. britbacca*

      Seconding this, as a lifelong public sector bureaucrat (public health)! I very intentionally chose a career path in government because a) I like my labor to benefit the public, vs make shareholder profits, and b) government jobs are one of the few union-regulated sectors that protects employee’s work-life balance. I’m currently upper-mid level in the federal sector, and work 35-40 hours week. During busy seasons (grant reviews, budget cycles), I might clock in 45-50, but that is almost always compensated with flex time off during other periods. I’m one rung under the level where weekend/evening work is more common, but I hardly ever check in off the clock.

      The private and non-profit sectors contribute to a lot of this “work till you drop” expectation, but that’s rarely been the case in my career. I’m a big evangelist for public-sector and government work – my responsibilities are challenging, my job is rewarding, and healthy work life balance is the norm. Plus, you can help be a force for good in creating the kind of society you want to live in!

    5. government worker*

      Government rules. You can’t beat the work/life balance, the benefits are amazing, and my agency (county Superior Court) has a bunch of weird-ass holidays in addition to a generous time off package. There is strong union representation, zero expectation to be plugged in off the clock (including management), and as others have said, the benefit of serving the public and feel like your work has legitimate and identifiable meaning. Luv 2 work in govt!

      1. Aphrael*

        I agree. I’m senior-level IT for government, never work more than 1-2 hours past 40/week, and rarely even that, get schedule flexibility for any personal stuff I need to take care of during the work week, and pretty good flexibility in general if I just want to change my schedule.

        No expectation (in my role) to be available on weekends or evenings, although there is an on-call rotation among server-restoring types of staff to ensure after-hours coverage in case of emergency.

    6. Anon govt workerbee*

      Agreeing with all of this. I work in planning/permitting for a large US city and overall the work life balance is very good. We definitely work more than 40 hours during busy times but usually no more than 50 and only when needed to meet a specific project timeline. PTO and benefits are great.

      1. Meera*

        Australia, senior civil engineer (geotechnical) for state government roads agency. Work life balance is great. I work 4 days a week, 7-8 hrs per day. Limited checking of email on off days; few late days unless it’s an emergency (cyclone season). They make us take leave if our leave balances get too high; and monitor long hours very heavily – can’t work >9.5hr days unless you have a very good reason.

    7. ainomiaka*

      also public/government environmental lab. work life balance is wonderful here too. While there can occasionally be something that requires more than 40 hrs/week, everyone except the very highest levels gets comp time to use later so that it actually does average out to 40 (or extra time off if you’re not FLSA exempt). I have left my phone number to call if there is an emergency when I was out . . . once in 5 years? and no calls.
      Yes there are drawbacks, but you could not pay me enough to go back to the private sector hours I was working before. Or the private sector treatment.

  10. Sloan Kittering*

    I’m midlevel. This is such a tough question because I feel like my boss would LOVE it if I was always available / checking emails on nights and weekends – and there might even be advancement opportunities or other rewards in it for me if I operated that way (or – might not! And I wouldn’t get that time back if not!) but I also haven’t been explicitly told that I have to, or that I *won’t* advance if I don’t. I always tell my coworkers if they really need me for something after hours, they should text / call my cell, not just send me an email because I don’t routinely check. They seem to accept this.

    1. Turquoisecow*

      My old job I felt like there would be advancement opportunities if I demonstrated that I was willing to give up my weekends or whatever. I was explicitly encouraged to come in earlier and stay later than the start time (I was salaried so these were possible). But I was never explicitly told to work evenings or weekends, and I treasured my time off.

      Eventually it became obvious that wasn’t the sort of place I wanted to climb the ranks anyway, though that might have been my initial instinct. So I consciously focused on not thinking about work when I wasn’t at work.

  11. Sorrel*

    OOh! right

    Aerospace, (UK, but mostly for American companies)
    Project manager (I hold a lower level budget – so middle rung – I ‘ve been moveing up pretty fast)
    I honestly work around 30 hours a week – but in the office around 40. Never to emails at weekends, may send the odd evening text like “are we meeting at 9 tomorrow?)

    1. Sorrel*

      Although – I’m not being 100% truthful. I probably spend a day a week volunteering and doing stuff not related to my day job. (I am a trustee of a professional body etc) so if you count that I’m over. But my day job doesn’t care about that unless it gets in the way of their stuff.

    2. Anon101*

      Wow! I am very jealous. My partner works in aerospace research.
      50 hours/week, (2-3X a month)
      100+ hours week/ (1-2X/month); nights & weekends.
      (Average monthly hours would be 350-400)
      Between regular work & conferences, there is no work/life balance. It is all work.

    3. Senior Staff Aero*

      Aero – US base company
      Software/Systems/System of Systems engineer
      Senior level – technical side & management
      Average 50-60 hours/week
      80 hours during intense testing
      120 hours during launches
      Am expected to VPN in as needed
      Am also expected to work over weekends/holidays as needed

      I was out to lunch with several program managers VPs last week. I wondered if I wasn’t a good engineer because I had to work so many hours. They started laughing and said that if you were a good engineer you’d get all the extra work.

      Extreme hours seem normal for Aerospace. I’ve seen complaints from colleagues from several different companies, both small and large. I think this is due to having to meet launch schedule no matter what. The rocket will launch with or without your payload in it. If you’re not ready then they’ll put someone else on board and you go to the back of the line.

    4. The New Wanderer*

      US Aerospace here too.
      Systems engineer (title covers a HUGE range of skills and positions though)
      Mid-senior level
      40 hours/wk, about 30 hours actual work
      I usually check email once during the weekend to make sure I’m ready for Monday but almost never have a need for overtime or off-hours work.

      However, my experience isn’t totally representative. Some programs end up requiring mandatory OT (paid) and long hours, but I have never been on one myself. They can last for a year or longer, but it’s considered unusual rather than the norm. Also some roles can have significant demands on time, I know people who seem to work all the time – they also tend to be the resident experts, sometimes the only people with specialized knowledge. (I used to know a handful of people who worked OT because it was allowed and because they felt their salary wasn’t where they wanted it, not because of work need.) I believe managers here also work more than 40 regularly.

    5. Ellie*

      Aerospace/Defence here too (Australia)
      Software Team Lead
      40 hours a week
      Not plugged in at all (security requirements means no real work from home, some colleagues are on 24/7 support but are paid more for it, and on a roster)
      In my experience long hours and overtime is common in this field… but you can say no, and plenty of people do. Maybe you don’t advance quite as fast but that’s fine by me.

  12. Tara S.*

    Higher Ed
    Program Manager
    40 Hours
    Not at all. I get training during the work day and there is no expectation that I work crazy hours on a regular basis. No evening/weekend/vacation communication. I’m moving ahead just fine and have been told my future looks good.

    1. MeganTea*

      I also work in higher ed, as a program manager.

      Higher Ed (Very high research university)
      Program Manager
      40-45 hours/week
      Since I manage the student workers/GAs in my office, and I also administer some scholarships/fellowships (which includes posting the awards to the students’ accounts), I screen my emails for call-outs from the student workers/GA as well as money issues. I’m also occasionally expected to come in early/work late or work on a Saturday to either assist with university events or run office events (think commencement, professional development, recruitment), but this only happens once or twice a semester on average.

    2. CamperHill*

      Higher Ed
      Alumni Relations
      40-45 hours, or more like 50-60 during annual Reunions (my main event)
      I purposefully don’t stay ‘connected’ outside of work hours or on vacation. Some people do, but it hasn’t negatively impacted my job or reputation by not answering emails at all hours of the night. I *would* respond to a text or call from my immediate boss outside of working hours, though.

  13. TheCatLady*

    Digital marketing
    Content manager / copywriter
    About 40, on average
    Generally there’s no expectation that you’ll be plugged in on evenings and weekends, unless you’re working an event during that time or an emergency comes up. Some people stay in touch on vacations, but I wouldn’t say it’s required.

  14. Carolyn*

    -Academic Librarianship
    -Mid-level (tenured) coordinator of a program
    -40 hrs/wk. Sometimes it’s closer to 30 and during busy parts of the semester it might be closer to 50 for a few weeks a year.
    -Not plugged in on weekends or evenings at all with rare exceptions

  15. PR Professional*

    -Mid/Senior Level
    -45-50 hours/week (this is low for the industry, but not unheard of)
    -I’m expected to check email frequently, and work if needed, including nights and weekends. Can sign off for vacation.

    1. Going Anon*

      PR folks do tend to be “always on.” I think the exemption rule changes stopped the round-the-clock work of junior people, which will eventually trickle up into mid-level and senior management. At least, that’s the trend I’m seeing on the agency side.

      When I started, I would routinely work 12 or 14 hour days to cover routine client requests and that’s just not the norm I see anymore. I’m curious if that aligns with your experience.

      1. PR Professional*

        Yes, I think it has been getting better! In my experience, a lot of it at agencies is still team by team and client by client. Two mid-level staffers at the same firm could be making the same wages but one is working 45 hours a week and the other 60.

  16. hadoukenpunch*

    Public Policy (nonprofit)
    mid/senior level (10 years experience w/ advanced degree)
    40 hrs/wk
    Never expected to be plugged in on vacation. Off-hour communications are rare and often expected when they are (e.g., big congressional votes, law passages, election nights). I’ve only ever found this level of balance at nonprofits, but from what I hear a bad one can also go far in the other direction.

    1. theguvnah*

      wow, I’m impressed that you have time off unplugged!

      Public policy (nonprofit)
      senior level (17 years’ experience, run a team of 5 (have run up to 20 member teams)
      probably averages over the year to 50 hours a week. I focus on state policies (but nationally) so during spring state legislative sessions it is not unusual to have 12 hour days multiple days in a row, and conferences and events on several weekends per month. But now, late July, I can easily take a 35-40 hour work week.
      I plan my vacations to coincide with quieter times so I can usually unplug but it isn’t unusual for me to take a call or two while on vacation. But I don’t expect my team too.

    2. Stripes*

      I’m also public policy, non profit
      I’m one level down from the boss and I’m a subject matter expert
      Generally 40 hrs/wk
      We put on events which I’m expected to attend. About half are in “my” time, eg giving up my evening for a work dinner.
      About half the time when I fly it’s expected I do it in my own time. Eg it’s normal for a meeting to finish at 5pm then you fly home that night.
      I do a few hours work most weekends, just to stay ahead.
      I also read for development in my own time, and read a business/financial newspaper at breakfast rather than read more fun stuff.

  17. Chelle*

    Field: Healthcare IT
    Role: Project Manager (aka consultant)
    Level: Mid (4yrs experience)
    Hours: 45ish in office, significantly more when travelling (~50-75%)
    Evenings/Weekends: you’re expected to be available for calls, and it’s extremely common for people to work evenings and weekends. I typically only do when I’m travelling (not much else to do in a hotel room). Vacation is more sacred.

  18. Rose's angel*

    Hard to put a level I am senior of sorts in the # of years my dept
    40 plus a few hours here and there depending on how busy we are
    At my level I am not expected to be plugged in all the time. I have specifically put boundaries. If something is super important I will be available but I will let it be kbown its for that purpose and isnt to be ecpected all the time. If I were to advance to a manager its implied that I wouod have to be plugged in some nights weekends and vacations.

  19. Jedi Librarian*

    -Public Libraries
    -Desk Clerk
    -Mid-level, I guess? I don’t have a LTA/MLS but I’ve been working for 5 years in libraries
    -I personally work about 16, but desk clerk positions average at 16-25
    -You’re not. Sometimes I’ll get a call/text about coming in to cover someone’s shift but that’s few and far between at Library A and at Library B, it’s usually planned ahead.

    1. Jedi Librarian*

      Copying Valprehension, and also saying that we do work evenings and weekends, but we still are expected to be off call barring any scheduling questions like I mentioned

  20. Bubbleon*

    Market Research
    Project Manager
    There’s typically an expectation that you’ll check in for emergencies and handle as they come up, but not that you’ll be working nights and weekends regularly. We’re busiest at the end of the year and that tends to come with longer days but we also have a longer holiday vacation than is standard for the industry to try and counter that added stress. Advancement is based on how you handle daily work and emergencies, not how much time you spend on them.

    1. Sarra*

      Are you hiring? :D
      I’ve been at my MR agency for 2 years now and the hours here are just insane. :(

  21. CatCat*

    – Law, government
    – Lawyer
    – Mid-level
    – Average 40 hours/week, can go up during particular busy seasons, which I know about in advance
    – Rarely expected to be plugged in on evenings and weekends. So far, never on vacation. I don’t check my email or voicemails on my personal time. If there’s some sort of urgent issue, my boss has my cell number. This has never been abused.

    1. CatCat*

      I get the impression that management works longer hours and is expected to be more plugged in. Managers and supervisors also are not permitted telework or alternative workweek schedules (e.g., 9-8-80). For these reasons, I would not want to go into management.

      1. I hate the offseason.*

        – Law, government
        – Lawyer
        – Senior level, non-supervisory
        – 40 hours/week, rarely more
        – Ditto to “Rarely expected to be plugged in on evenings and weekends. So far, never on vacation. I don’t check my email or voicemails on my personal time. If there’s some sort of urgent issue, my boss has my cell number. This has never been abused.”

        My husband is a Gov’t attorney, SES, and he routinely works 10 hour+ days and is expected to be available on weekends/evenings, and has a gov’t phone. He checks his email during the weekend, and they have his personal cell number. Still, he is not working until 8pm at night the way his predecessor did, but it is his decision to have a work/life balance.

        1. Contracts Killer*

          Same for me as a senior, non supervisor government attorney. Rarely working off hours or during vacation and when contacted when on leave, my boss is very apologetic and only contacts me for high priority help.

          However, I have worked in other government attorney roles and the workload and hours varied a lot by agency and by supervisor. I think 40ish hours is pretty typical though.

    2. CatCat*

      Additional context on background, I function as in-house counsel doing typical advisory type work, but also work on policy development.

      Best thing I ever did for my work/life balance was getting out of litigation though litigation was a great place to start my career.

      1. LawBee*

        I am super interested in getting out of litigation, and would love a government job, tbh. Can I hijack this and ask how to go about finding those? all I know is that USAJOBS website, which is kind of a lot to deal with.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          We could totally talk about this on tomorrow’s open thread! I suspect there’s a good number of folks with advice, and I bet a lot of the non-law positions still translate when it comes to the job search.

        2. CheeryO*

          I’m not a lawyer, but my agency hires lawyers – look at your state’s civil service website in addition to USAJobs for federal agencies.

        3. CatCat*

          I used to work for the federal government and now work for the state government. My federal job, I got wind about the opportunity from a friend. I can’t recall if the job was even advertised. So that was a lot of luck/knowing someone who knew.

          When I went to work for the state, I just applied to a lot of stuff advertised through the state’s portal, had some interviews, and eventually one offered me a job. I worked at that state agency for about 4 years and switched teams when I was there (a smidge over 2 years in) going from a litigation team to a house counsel team.

          The next agency (and the current one I work for), I found advertised on craigslist of all places.

          1. Contracts Killer*

            That’s how my state works. I’m happy to participate in tomorrow’s open thread!

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      CatCat, if you’re comfortable, can you clarify if you litigate? I get the impression that there can be a lot of flexibility and work-life balance for non-lit fields.

        1. CatCat*

          One of the reasons I don’t litigate anymore was that in litigation, I did not receive flexibility. This was more a boss issue than anything else. I could be out of town for a hearing Monday-Thursday working 14-15 hour days and then they would still expect me to be in the office Friday unless I wanted to use vacation time. So that would be a 60-70 hour workweek.

          Meanwhile, the folks on the house counsel teams worked 8 hour days, regularly only had 40 hour weeks, and didn’t have to travel, and got out of the office on time most days. I realized I was effectively getting paid less per hour than they were in addition to the stress/time away from home. So I applied to the team with the manager with the best reputation. Not only regular hours, but she was very flexible.

    4. State Gov Anon*

      Just want to flag that there is wide diversity in government law jobs – I know agency attorneys that work 4o hour weeks and are unionized. There are also legislative counsel positions or jobs with electeds that require 100% of your time. So this is a know your specific field thing even within law and government.

    5. Silicon Valley Girl*

      40 hours
      No stated evening / weekend / holiday expectations, although sometimes I may have to take a call from a time zone that’s a few hours earlier / later than my usual work schedule (but with advance notice), & about 2-3x a year there may be obligatory conference-type events that might take up an evening. Work-related travel 1-2x a year. I’ve been at companies & worked on specific projects that required work shifting around time zones, but it wasn’t in addition to a standard 40-hour week. That said, I prefer to be an individual contributor & not management because I strictly value my work/life balance.

      1. Djuna*

        Replying here because we’re in similar fields and job roles:
        Content Specialist
        ~45 hours
        I have a boss and grandboss who are all about work/life balance and frown on checking email/Slack etc. outside of the office. My hours at the moment are p. crazy (closer to 55 a week) but that’s down to temporary circumstances and won’t be long term. Usually I have a few (maybe 3?) weeks a year when I need to check stuff in the evenings or at weekends, but I know about them well in advance. I can handle the crazy right now because it’s so out of the norm and temporary. And heck yes to wanting to stay at individual contributor level. I will manage words all day long, please do not ask me to manage humans!

  22. Going Anon*

    Your field: Public relations/marketing
    Your job: C-level exec; I basically run marketing and new business for an agency, with some high-level client-facing work thrown in every few weeks.
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Senior. I report directly to the CEO
    Average number of hours you work per week: 45-50

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation:
    I take all my vacation days and completely disconnect while I’m away. I am able to do this because I don’t always have active client work and I can set my team up to be productive while I’m away. And I plan my vacations for less-busy times of the year.

    I do check my phone on nights and weekends but after a few years at the same place, I’ve really developed a sense about when I’m needed and when I’m not. In 10 years, I’ve missed one “crisis” and that was pulling me into another team’s issue. My boss will now call my personal phone if and when she needs something urgent.

    I think it’s possible to train the people around you — including clients! — if you don’t want to be available 24/7. I’m lucky enough to work for an agency that understands some times are busier than others, so there’s no mandate to be in the office, at a desk for 8 hours, then available 24/7. We also prioritized hiring enough people to do the work that needs to be done and our hiring is always active, so there are fewer gaps in productivity.

    I do attend the occasional networking event or conference off hours but mostly to meet other people in the industry and to potentially get new business. I didn’t do that as much when I was junior and regret it! It’s hard to know what else is out there unless you’re talking to peers in other companies.

  23. Allornone*

    Non-profit (elder services)
    Grant Writer/Area Planner
    40 hours
    Almost none. Unless an event or conference arises, my evenings and weekends pretty much belong to me, my man, and my cat.

  24. Tracy*

    – marketing / brand. Account Director for one major client now but still contribute occasionally to other clients.
    – mid level I suppose. Reporting to CEO / company owner. 8 years with this company
    – 40-45 hours per week in the office

    – definitely expected to answer calls and emails and IM messages 24/7 and while on leave as well. Tried to have leave last week, it didn’t really work.

    Most of this expectation comes internally from my boss, not from my clients who almost never contact me out of hours.

  25. Advisor123*

    Higher Ed
    Academic Advisor
    Mid Level
    40 hours
    Evenings/Weekends – Occasionally – working events like commencement or student org; often check email more frequently in evenings during start of term and peak enrollment
    Vacations – only if an emergency, which thankfully has not happened

  26. Combinatorialist*

    Computer Science
    R&D developer
    entry level
    40 hrs/wk
    pretty much never unless something very unusual is going on. I would say this is also true of the more senior people and managers I work with

  27. Someone Else*

    Your field – Higher Education Administration
    Your job – Grant Specialist (I work 80% on computer, 20% in meetings; lots of documentation/compliance work; hard government/agency deadlines)
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that) – Mid-ish. My current position is entry-level, but I’m new after doing this work elsewhere and fastracked for promotion
    Average number of hours you work per week – hard 40 on the dot. But, the people higher in my position’s ladder are exempt and work more.
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – Zero, with zero consequence. Again, others on my ladder aren’t required to, but do willingly.

    1. Cheesecake2.0*

      I’m also a grant specialist, higher education. Exempt, mid-level. I do not supervise others though.
      I am in the office 40 hours a week but generally do about 32-35 hours of actual work.
      I occasionally respond to emails in the evenings (just because my office hours are early for some night owls, 7-3:30) but not on weekends or vacation. I am lucky that the institution I work at has established a culture of “last-minute is not ok” which works pretty well most of the time.

  28. LawProf*

    I’m a first year professor. (So, not quite entry-level because phd + work experience before graduate school, but a new prof.) I probably work 40/wk, but I choose to work some nights and a few hours on the weekends so I have more flexibility during the week to raise my toddler. There is definitely a presumption in the field that professors are working ALL THE TIME but I think many people actually quietly work 35-45 and still do well. Probably not going to become a rockstar, famous academic at that rate but can get tenure and be professionally successful.

    1. Birch*

      I just have to say you are my hero, and thank you for being realistic about work-life balance and what’s actually important. Your students and postdocs are looking to you and you are setting a great example!

  29. Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler*

    International Development
    Technical advisor (US-based)
    45-60 HPW on average
    Not always, but sometimes. There are certain instances (like if there’s a problem that could halt field-level activities) where you’re expected to be available all the time, but for a short time. This is also heavily dependent on the dynamic of your individual team and supervisor.

  30. Anonymooos*

    Dept. VP
    Senior Level (~1.5 steps down from C-suite)
    Recently I’ve been doing more 50-60 hour weeks but when we were better staffed it was closer to 40-50
    I really don’t plug in over the weekend (I need to give myself a break!) When I leave work at the end of the day, that’s pretty much it. Work will be there tomorrow whether I check my email at 9pm or not. I like to check in on vacation but I generally let my team handle what is going on. I can’t remember something urgent that came up when I was out that I needed to dial in for. On my last vacation, I did do some work while I was waiting at the airport to leave for my trip, but that was about it. I just like having a vague sense of what’s going on while I’m out so I’m less surprised when I get back.

    1. Anonymooos*

      One word of advice – TURN SLACK NOTIFICATIONS OFF ON YOUR PHONE. Well that was 7 words, but I would lose my mind if I constantly saw pings from people (especially since 90% will be things that don’t concern me). I don’t know why people from my team have them turned on. They will reply to me even if I say “this is for tomorrow” or it’s clearly not urgent. Save yourself from being constantly on alert.

  31. Must Bring Data*

    45 hrs/week; few evenings and very rare weekends

    I do check my email on vacation and often at night, but that’s because I’m always curious what’s going on, not because I need to do so.

  32. Dust Bunny*

    Nonprofit (private library)
    I’m a worker bee but my boss, while he does handle some after-hours stuff . . . it’s not routine here. And he can usually take time off somewhere else to balance it out. And a lot of what we do cannot be done from home because the physical materials do not leave the building. So it’s a pretty solid 40 hours a week with only rare variance.

    The down side is that it’s far from lucrative or powerful, so if that’s part of your definition of advancement, it might not be enough for some people.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      My father (retired geophysicist/engineer, 35 years with a major oil company), though, repeatedly turned down managerial roles in large part because all the guys who had them were divorced workaholics.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that “having it all” has always been a fiction. Men in the 1950s had wives who stayed home and did most of the family stuff; even they didn’t have it all. If parenting is also a full-time job, how many full-time jobs can one person do?

  33. Howie*

    Context: large non-profit org

    Field: Quality improvement / data analysis
    Title: Quality Systems Specialist
    Level: mid, individual contributor / subject area expert
    Hours: 40/week. Maybe once or twice a year I have a project that calls for extra hours
    Plugged in: Not at all. Again maybe once a year there’s a situation I might need to monitor/act on during an evening or weekend, and I’d have advance notice of it

    My boss –
    Field: Quality improvement / data analysis
    Title: Director of Quality Improvement
    Level: senior, subject area expert plus supervises a staff of four
    Hours: 40-45/week. Sometimes answers email in the evening but this is because it helps their workflow, not because it’s expected/required
    Plugged in: Not, unless there’s a specific reason to be. I’d guess that once or twice a month they’re plugged in for an evening/weekend. They’ll do short days or work from home to make up the time to keep close to 40 hours for the week.

  34. Gnome Ann*

    Graphic designer
    mid? not entry level.
    40. It often feels expected from my current boss that I would be available – she herself often is checking email on vacation. However I don’t feel I get paid enough to do work on my off hours and I don’t get a company cell phone, so I consider my time my own and I am therefore unavailable unless someone texts me to say, “real emergency.” Which in publishing, doesn’t really happen. These personal standards haven’t caused me any issues yet.

  35. SamDouglas*

    Senior (the only people above me are the library’s Board)
    40, on the dot
    I’m mildly plugged in when off the clock, but it feels like more of a personal choice. I’ve hustled really hard the last six years to grow our library so my brain is always running ideas in the background. Our library is only open 38 hours per week so I am there for all open hours and get some office hours to round out my 40. When I take personal or vacation time I let my staff know I’ll be generally available in case of an extreme emergency, but I trained and built a really strong group, so most things that come up they know how to handle on their own or know they can tell a person when I’ll be back.

    TLDR- empower and train your team so you’ll be able to mentally step away when you’re not physically there.

    1. Small-Town Library Director*

      I’m also a library director. 40 hours on the dot because paying the most expensive person on my staff to do more is just INSANE! (And I like my family.) If you’re not working, I’m not paying you, and if your working, you’d better be here, so … no working form home, no bothering people at home unless it’s critical! My library is open 64 hours a week, and we’re all pulling together to make sure that nobody has to go crazy to make this run.
      But to get this awesome camaraderie and support from the Board, I have to be in a Midwestern town of 5,500. Few restaurants, little shopping, nearest town of any size is 30 minutes away. It’s a trade-off I gladly made.

  36. State Gov Anon*

    State government/law/politics
    Legislative counsel
    Mid-level (new to role, but no one is hired entry level)
    There are busy seasons where you’re working until 2am, but still 50-60+ hrs is the norm if that little. When I was litigating I was working way more than 50-60, so at least in this new job the busy seasons ebb and flow. If you want to work in law or politics on a high level you can’t ever be not plugged in – depending on your office, people can be really reasonable about vacation or not at all, it varies on the culture, and also timing. If working 40 hours a week and no more is really important to you, do not go to law school, and do not get involved in politics. In election season your off time isn’t even really your off time, you are campaigning. You have to love this work and be really passionate about it and willing to think about it all the time. People depend on you. It also helps to have a really supportive partner.

  37. Spreadsheets and Books*

    Corporate finance
    FP&A Manager
    45 hours
    Very little engagement nights and weekends. I check my email because it’s linked to my Mail app but I have never had to respond to anything. No one takes their computers home. My last job as a senior analyst was worse. I took my computer home virtually every night (but rarely needed it) and did put in a few weekend hours during busy season.

    1. Coffee Bean*

      Hey S&B – if you don’t mind, I do have some followup questions. For the record, I am not the OP, but I am in your same field.

      1. You state you felt compelled to be available more as a Senior Analyst vs FP&A Manager, do you think the extended hours were driven by your drive to advance or was it Operations/Manager expectations?
      2. Do you see Senior Level FP&A/Finance working longer hours? Or do they set an example for work-life?

      For context: I am a mid-senior level Analyst in FP&A, this is my second job. Between the jobs the way that Operations approached Finance, and the example Finance Managers set in their own work-life balance, has set the tone for everyone underneath them. In both jobs I have seen the senior level Finance Directors working at least 60hr weeks, every weekend, and if there was an unexpected busy week, would delay vacations for work. Now obviously, busy season is a cyclical thing we deal with, so more hours during that is expected. But, in your experience, is it abnormal for those senior-level/directors to always be working 60+ hrs even in the slower months, or do they truly have that consistent workload?

      1. Five after Midnight*

        From my experience (Controllership/FP&A) this will vary by company – I worked in environments where 60 hours was expected (which inevitably required weekend work) and where 40-45 was the norm unless we were putting out fires or closing the books at quarter-end. Yes, Managers and Directors will set the tone, but if you are really good at your job and can confidently push back on your workload, you may find that you have a lot more flexibility than you think – good finance people are really really hard to find.

    2. Five after Midnight*

      Corporate finance
      FP&A Director
      2 levels below C-suite
      45-50 hours per week but I have some flexibility when to work (e.g. can take a 2- or 3-hr midday break and work in the evening) plus I am expected to occasionally participate in late evening, early morning, or weekend calls if there is something urgent going on or due to the availability of others in different time zones. But when I’m not working, then I’m not working. Don’t have corporate email on my phone, don’t check email on weekends or on vacation.
      The key is to teach people that your time is your time and they need to respect it. It does help if you have a unique and desirable skill-set, and you’re awesome at what you do… :-)
      People above me tend to be plugged in 24/7 but don’t work more than about 50 or so hours unless it’s year-end or another busy time.

      1. Coffee Bean*

        Thanks, Five after Midnight.

        I think you hit on a really good point, “teach people that your time is your time”. Set the boundary and most people will be okay with it.

  38. SocialIntrovert*

    -Social work (nonprofit, mental health)
    -Therapist/counselor/case manager
    -Midlevel-ish? It’s slightly higher than entry level due to needing extra schooling/experience/licensing to do the job, but I don’t supervise anyone
    -Mildly. Our work is flexible but intense hours so I might start my day at 9 and end my day at 6, or start my day at 11 and end it at 8, or on particularly hectic days start at 8 and end at 8. But that to complete sessions/client visits/external meetings. We aren’t expected to answer emails or work calls after 5 or on the weekend, except when we’re on-call for crisis response for our clients, which is about 4 weeks out of the year, rotating between counselors.

  39. Starfire117*

    Your field: Education
    Your job: Secondary School Teacher
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): mid-level
    Average number of hours you work per week: 32.5 (hours in a school day × 5) -> lost count (marking, prepping, planning, trips, training and PD, etc)
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: not at all! Everything I do outside of school hours is essentially individual. I don’t need to respond to anyone or any emails.
    Any other context you want to add

    1. Kimmybear*

      But could you actually grade all your papers/tests, respond to emails, do lesson plans, attend faculty meetings, conduct parent teacher conferences during your planning period? All of that stuff is more than the 7.5 hours per week that takes you up to 40 hours so in that sense most teachers are expected to do evenings and weekends. And why most teachers are seriously underpaid for all the hard work and caring they put in. Thank you!

      1. Starfire117*

        Actually, it’s not that bad! Once you’ve worked enough years, you start to get a system and things down to a science. There are lots of weeks where I don’t do anything outside of school, and even when I do, I almost never ever do school stuff on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I’ve got a great work-life balance, and even if I do have to do some work at home, I can do it I’m my PJs and on my own terms. I love it!

      2. RoadsLady*

        My current district is very particular on what is grades. Which means it’s concise, limited, and thought-out. Also means much less to formally grade.

        Even without that, a good system cuts down on grading, if you’re up for it.

      3. Mel (Cow Whisperer)*

        Former HS teacher here.

        As a beginning teacher, I worked 7am-5pm M-F plus at least one half day on Saturday or Sunday so that was ~55 hours a week during the school year plus 2-3 hours per day on vacations during the year and about 10 hours per week during summers. I was contracted to work from 7:45am to 3:15 per school day so, yeah, it was a lot of unpaid time.

        I suspect I had to put a lot more hours in than most because I taught three different classes (e.g., three preps) plus was working on creating internet based classes since I was teaching in an alternative ed school with major absence issues due to childcare falling apart for students. Since leaving and working as a sub, I’ve yet to find another starting teacher who was given so many preps; most teachers have one or two preps…and only a few experienced teachers opt in for three preps to teach an elective they really like.

        The issue I had was that as soon as I started to get my preps under control – year three or so – the number of out-of-classroom assignments that had no bearing on student learning started climbing and I was required to start writing and teaching a project-based learning course for each year….yearly….while having three additional preps. I enjoyed making the PBL class – but I had to construct entire texts from outside sources along with project options and assessments which was amazing and sucked down all free time I gained from having put together three good preps in the year before. The out of classroom stuff, though, is what broke me. For example, I had to write a 5 page assessment explanation for each prep that included cited references. That was 20 pages of blather I had to churn out – and I’m willing to bet a ton of cash that no one ever read it because the eight FT teachers plus 2 PT teachers in our building taught 24 preps total. Similarly, I had to write out weekly lesson plans that cited standards/benchmarks and included sample dialogue that could be used if a sub was needed. That was a freaking nightmare – and I always left separate reading-based work for subs because very few subs could handle teaching HS science.

        1. K.*

          The number of preps greatly varies. I teach high school ELA in a rural school and will have SIX preps next year! Including three different dual-credit courses! Yes, a lot of larger school districts a teacher may have only one or two preps, but I have never had less than four.

    2. another teacher*

      Middle School teacher, private school
      42 required on campus hours (10 months)
      4 hours coaching (additional compensation)
      6-8 additional mandatory evening/weekend events per year
      Usually an hour of prep or grading every night, plus a marathon weekend of report card writing a few times a year.

      1. Sakura*

        Middle school teacher, private school
        10 years experience
        40 contracted hours with kids
        10 mandatory events after school
        Grading, planning, clean up, decorating, meetings, tutoring, clubs/coaching etc means about 2 hours a day after school, 5 on fridays when i do my lesson planning, and weekends are only when absolutely necessary for an event or something i especially need to prep for during the week. Average about 55-60.

        How long you stay seems unfortunately correlated to how effective you are. My coworker does nothing but gives kids worksheets and is at home by 3:30 every day. I’m building castles and coordinating school-wide performances for my class. You do learn systems to streamline but you should be updating and creating new ones frequently as classroom dynamics vary and new research comes in. Looking to leave the field because I have no energy for life outside the classroom.

        I taught overseas and there the workday was much more reasonable.

  40. TaxAccountant*

    Corporate Tax (in an industry job not public accounting)
    Senior Tax Accountant
    Mid level
    In my line of work people who want to advance quickly, in title or responsibility stay in public accounting longer, usually until at least manager. I will most likely never be promoted, but I work 8-4pm, don’t answer work questions when not at work (no work email on my phone or work computer at home).

    My SO is in public accounting, he may one day be a partner or a VP level executive. He is available 24/7 and works 60 hours most weeks, and every vacation we’ve been on.

    My boss is expected to answer emails during non-work time and regularly works from home or on weekends during our busy time.

    Every higher level manager I’ve met in public or corporate accounting has worked well beyond the 40 hour work week.

    1. Hopeful Future Accountant*

      Thank you for this post! This is very good information for me to know as that is the field I’m going into. I was already planning to go into corporate accounting because from what I’ve learned through research, public accounting would be likely to send my tics (I have Tourette Syndrome) into overdrive.

      1. TaxAccountant*

        For what it’s worth I started in public accounting (as did everyone I work with). A lot of the better/cushier corporate jobs will want to see some public accounting on your resume. So please don’t rule it out, since it’s the gateway to a lot of job that require 1-2 years of experience.

        1. Hopeful Future Accountant*

          That’s good to know, too. Will I be able to get a job still without getting my CPA license? I’m very worried about that aspect since I’m very much not a good test taker – in order to be able to sit through it I’d probably need accommodations (specifically a private room since tests make my tics worse which generally results in me screeching and shouting things a lot – usually quotes from Frozen – and I feel very guilty about distracting others in situations like that).

          1. Five after Midnight*

            You need 3 things to get the CPA license: education, passed test, and experience. So by default, you will not have the license before your first accounting job. The experience from industry counts, but (and this may vary by state) you will need to be supervised by a active CPA license holder and will require longer time of experience (2x-4x) than in public accounting to count.

          2. TaxAccountant*

            You can get hired into public accounting before you have passed the CPA exam. You can absolutely bypass all of this and just go straight into a corporate A/P job, or book keeping, ect.

            In my experience everyone who is in an actual accounting roll – as opposed to A/P ect – has been in public accounting. I’ve also only worked for fortune 500 companies, so that’s part of it.

            I just didn’t want to discourage the “next generation” because there are a lot of positive trade offs, but if you know this path isn’t for you, and it sounds like you do, there are plenty of job that don’t need/require a CPA.

            1. ErinFromAccounting*

              A/P and bookkeeping are not the only options for those outside of public. I am at a F500 in the finance leadership development program (rotating through different departments) straight out of college. I’m a staff accountant now, and I’ll be a senior accountant/analyst at the end of the program.

              1. Former Retail Manager*

                I concur with ErinFromAccounting. There are plenty of jobs that are above the A/P/bookkeeping level, but below a CPA level, that have room for growth and only require a Bachelor’s. Some are accounting related, like budget analysts and such. I’d strongly encourage you to look at opportunities with all levels of government, state, local, and federal. I am a federal employee working in tax compliance and, while I have about a year of graduate level tax classes under my belt, I did not complete my Master’s and the graduate classes didn’t “help” me get my job. All I needed was a Bachelor’s. Many entry level government positions only require a Bachelor’s degree (think staff accountant, budget analyst, etc.) and you can then decide if you want to further your education or not. Also, not having a Master’s or CPA has not prevented me from advancing with the federal govt because govt often has their own sets of rules that don’t always match private enterprise/public accounting.

                1. Anonna Miss*

                  The value of being a CPA isn’t early in your career, though of course firms and corporations like if you get it. The problem can be if you want to advance 10-20 years in, and NOT having a CPA can be a liability from higher level roles, like controller or CFO, or even manager at a larger company. (Not having any public accounting experience can also be a liability at that level. A good friend of mine was a CFO at a mid-size company. He was a CPA, but he’d started his career at a F50 company instead of public accounting. Twenty years into his career, he was given flack for not having public accounting experience.) It’s perfectly fine to decide that’s not for you, and you’ll never want it. But I’ve seen too many people decide that they’d get their CPA ‘later’, or avoid public accounting, and later found doors closed to them that otherwise would have been open. Even though they had the skills, the lack of a piece of paper or lack of bullet points on their resume hurt them.

    2. Five after Midnight*

      I concur – this is what finance looks(-ed) like everywhere I have worked.

  41. EBStarr*

    I’m a software engineer, mid-level, and work an average of maybe 42 hours a week (42 hours at the office, anyway, but that includes lunch every day and often another social event during the week). I usually only check my email at night or on the weekends if I’m excited or curious about some outstanding issue, and once in a *very* long while I’ll sign on late or early to take care of an urgent thing, but it truly is a 40-hour-a-week gig most of the time.

    If I stay in this field I expect to be able to advance to a senior IC level without increasing my hours significantly, though it does depend on the workplace (I’m at a large company, and in my experience start-up life can be less accommodating — but as far as I can tell, that’s changing too, as tech is trying to become more inclusive).

  42. Chira*

    Medical billing
    Account manager
    ~40 hrs/a week
    I’m not expected to be plugged in at all when I’m off the clock. Some people do intermittently check email/their accounts during weekends and vacations, but it’s not expected.

  43. Media Monkey*

    i wonder how country-specific this is as well, as i get the impression US people are more likely to be expected to work on PTO days?
    – Advertising
    – Media account director
    – mid-senior ish level?
    – i am contracted at 37.5 hours per week or “hours as appropriate to complete the job”. in reality, most of the time i will aim to leave fairly on time, but generally work through lunch (I have a child and a long commute so prefer to leave on time). i have a work phone and laptop and travel a bit (within the UK). often travel starts before the working day. i will briefly check emails during my commute. we are client facing so if they have a drama we get pulled in, or if there is a particularly big new business pitch or client presentation we might need to stay late. it does depend on your boss, company culture and workload. I have worked for companies before where working several hours late every night was expected (and workloads were allocated accordingly). i find a fair bit of presenteeism where people don’t want to be seen to leave on time, especially younger members of staff rather than senior ones. i very rarely work weekends and never on holiday – if someone calls on holiday it would be a really quick but urgent question, not to expect you to actually work.

    1. millennial techie*

      well, it’s also important to remember that those of us in the uk have EU rights to not work more than 48 hours/week, unless that’s specifically waived by the employee.

      I did not waive that at my current job; I work between 35 and 45 hrs/week depending on how busy things are.

      I have signed it away for my next job, which I start in a couple of months; but I have the impression that it’s normal to work about 40 hours/week there. I’ll be in a position where if an emergency happens, I will need to be all-hands-on-deck, so it was okay to sign away rights in my mind.

      1. Adereterial*

        That’s not entirely accurate.

        There’s some roles where the Working Time Directive doesn’t apply (police officer, for example) and some roles where you absolutely cannot opt out (driving roles, mostly). It’s also an ‘average’ of 48 hours a week, not a fixed limit – you can legally be asked to work more hours in a week even if you’ve not opted out, as long as your average doesn’t go over 48 over a defined period of weeks. For most that’s 17 weeks, but it can be up to a year in some roles.

    2. Avasarala*

      Agreed. In most industries in my country, people don’t take work home, but I know this is really common in the US.

  44. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Your field — health information management
    Your job — Primary responsibility: I supervise a team of 26 medical coders. Secondary: I also handle the interfacing with a group of our vendor coders, but that’s data only, no management.
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior — Probably mid-level. I’ve been in this field for over 15 years now. I’m lowest-tier management, on our career ladder, but I feel like being management puts me above entry level?
    Average number of hours you work per week — for my salaried job, I clock about 45 hours a week most weeks. The expectation is 40, but I work from home so I tend to log on a few minutes early and log off a few minutes late and keep poking at stuff (albeit a bit slower than usual) while I eat my lunch, so the extra few minutes add up here and there.
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation — not, generally. If I happen to take vacation the week of our monthly staff meeting and am in a position to do so, I generally call in to the conference line for it, but otherwise, I am not expected to monitor my email or whatnot outside of my regular hours unless something really unusual is going on.

    I also have an additional supplemental job for my organization, working as a coder rather than a coding supervisor. That coding role is also mid-tier, albeit as an individual contributor rather than management, because of the experience required to hold the role. I am allowed to work up to 10 hours per week at this role, and tend to average between 8-9 a week. Even when it was my full time position (before I was promoted to management) there were no expectations on nights and weekends; now there definitely aren’t, and if I don’t work it at all during a particular week nobody bats an eyelash. That said, I do work the hours for this job on Sundays, but that’s by my own choice.

    So basically I work my real (mid-level career, low-level management) job from 6:45a-4p M-F, and my second (mid-level career IC) job from 4a-1p on Sundays, and when I’m off the clock, nobody expects anything from me on either count.

  45. I Am In My Prime*

    Mid Level (20 years experience, directly manage 3 people, train new teachers)
    35 hour week (contracted hours)
    No expectation to be plugged in or responsive outside working hours. Management tells us not to check email during holidays.

    Context: am in Scotland

  46. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    IT and systems training
    L&D / training manager
    37.5 – flexitime but no evening* or weekend working, 6 weeks annual leave per year.
    Not expected to check or respond to emails while on leave or out of work hours.

    *The ONLY exception to the ‘no evenings’ rule is the occasional (c. 6 times a year) online training session or workshop for remote colleagues in other geographies, which might need an evening or early morning slot to accommodate time zones – for this I would generally deliver from home, and get time off in lieu.

  47. Master Bean Counter*

    Your field–Fruit Packing
    Your job–Controller
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that)–Senior
    Average number of hours you work per week-45 ish
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation–I’m expected to be able to answer emails and questions after hours. The inquiries are rare. At least once a year I get away totally for a week. No emails or anything. If I take vacation during harvest or our busy packing season I’m expected to work at least a little bit, but I can reclaim the PTO.
    Any other context you want to add–My industry is very cyclical. We have two busy times each year–fall harvest and Ramadan. When they collide I may have to move into my office.

  48. Sharkie*

    – Sports
    – Sales/ service
    – High entry-level/ Low mid-level
    – 45 hours a week mandatory. 55- 60 if I get real backlogged
    – I have email on my phone so if something comes through in the evenings that is important I address it. I try to stay unplugged during weekends/ vacation

  49. zlionsfan*

    Web Application Developer
    40 plus scheduled on-call hours
    Evenings and weekends, we’re responsive when on call but that is used only for critical work (we’re ecommerce so technically nothing we do is an emergency). When not on call, we’re almost never involved. On vacation, we’re almost never contacted since we do a good job of documenting processes and our boss is good about protecting our time off.

    This setup is relatively unusual for my field: a lot of developers work more than 40 hours regularly, are involved in after-hours work, etc. At one previous job, I worked regular overtime; at another, it was like this one, with virtually no OT, but in the latter case it was largely because we were a small team with a light workload, and also it was a construction company, so when the office closed for the day it was Closed, no need for us to be there.

    1. zlionsfan*

      also our on-call shifts are divided among a team of 5, with one as primary and one as secondary for one week at a time, so in a five-week cycle we’re primary once and secondary once. (When an alert goes off, it goes to primary, then secondary, then boss – who is also part of the 5 – and then overboss.) Alerts are few and far between.

  50. Critter*

    Your field: Fundraising/marketing agency
    Your job: Coordinator
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Entry/mid
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 most of the year, 45-ish November & December during the busy period
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation:
    Weekends, usually not at all. Vacations, eh, it can vary. They tell us to take time to unplug, but if something comes up, we typically have to deal with it. People have been told they can take the day off as long as they check their emails and Slack (so then it’s not really a day off, is it?) The senior staff is not unplugged AT ALL and it creates an atmosphere where you think you have to mimc what they do.

  51. instafamous*

    Mid-level associate
    60-90 / week
    expectation of always being on call (i.e. no vacations outside of cell phone service / always travel with a laptop)

  52. WhoKnows*

    -Mid-level (9 years experience)
    -Including outside the office hours, probably 50 hours per week on average
    -I am 100% expected to be available on evenings and weekends by email and phone for urgent matters, unless it’s discussed beforehand that I am not available on a specific date. Because I’m salaried, I’d say I work 10-15 weekends per year and don’t get paid extra for it, whereas people in other departments who are salaried maybe work one weekend per year, max. I am defining working weekends as anything where I have to leave my house – working at a festival, industry event, special event, etc. I am expected to check email on vacation, but I try to keep it to once or twice per day (a skim in the morning and evening to see if anything is urgent). I tell people to text me if it’s a true emergency. In my field I’m not sure there’s any such thing as unplugging.

  53. your favorite person*

    Your field: insurance
    Your job: programs manager
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: mid-level in a small (40 person) workplace
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Very very little, unless there is a special event taking place or travel.
    Any other context you want to add: I’m one of the few folks in my company who used to travel for my work and since that stopped a couple years ago (with a promotion) I almost never work weekends. My bosses all regularly check emails on short vacations and weekends but ‘unplug’ for stuff more than a week. BTW, it’s almost ALWAYS unnecessary for them to be plugged in, but it’s a perception thing for the higher managers, I think.

  54. A Frayed Knot*

    Field: Higher Ed (but same applies to other industries I have worked in – Mfg, Banking, K-12 education)
    Job: Internal Audit
    Level: Senior (20+ years exp)
    Hours: 40, with occasional OT at my discretion (I want to finish a project, report, avoid traffic, etc.)
    Evenings/Weekends/Vacation: Rarely required to be connected; I do it at my convenience and my discretion to support my staff. They know how and when to contact me if necessary, but that happens rarely.

  55. Bureaucratic Hospice*

    Your field: US Government / Natl Archives

    Your job: Supervisory Archivist

    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Mid-Senior (my GS is mid level & I’ve only been here 3 years, but the special nature of both my agency’s role and my specific job site pushes me more toward the upper mid side of things)

    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 (but! I have the option to work up to 50 with the extra banked as extra leave /credit time, which i take advantage of – it is absolutely no mandatory or expected though)

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: So I’m on our COOP/emergency team, which means I’m expected to have my govt issued cell on me at all times and report if (and ONLY IF) there is some sort of emergency (flood/fire/mold in buildings, Nicholas Cage spotted around 7th and Penn…etc) and I’m expected to telework on snow days. If i’m on vacation/leave however, none, generally leave the fed phone at home. Also Prior to being put on our COOP plan…nada.

      1. Bureaucratic Hospice*

        The single largest category of public inquiry we get isn’t Aliens! or JFK assassination! or Moon Landing! it’s bloody National Treasure…

  56. Airy*

    Your field: Aerodynamic Research
    Your job: Senior Software Engineer
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Mid probably.
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 on average. Have been known to work 90 hour weeks in emergencies.
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not at all, but do occasionally answer an evening phone call.
    Any other context you want to add: I’m in the UK.

  57. league.*

    Field: public libraries, big city
    Title: equivalent of deputy director
    Level: senior executive
    Hours: 40 per week. Occasionally there’s an after-hours or weekend event – I’d say once every three months. I also attend a couple of conferences a year.
    Plugged in: I check my work email once or twice in the evening, but there is really never anything super urgent. I occasionally get a call or text saying we have to close a building for some reason, but that is just to notify me – there’s nothing I need to do.

  58. Fortitude Jones*

    Your field: Software
    Your job: Proposal Writer and Content Manager
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Mid-level overall (been in the professional workforce since late 2010), but only about 19 months in proposal development
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not very. I mean, when I was a proposal manager, there were times when I had to work on the weekends if I was still waiting for materials from other proposal stakeholders, and I once worked a couple of hours on the 4th of July when I had a proposal shipping the next day, but overall, I’m highly efficient so I get what I need to get done within normal hours and my weekends are mine to do what I want. I do have to occasionally take late conference calls in my current position due to time zone coordination issues (the latest I’ve had one was at 8pm), but those times are few and far between. I also didn’t have crazy hours for the four years prior when I was a claims adjuster, except for my last year during hurricane season when I did voluntary OT due to the high volume of claims we received from Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Interestingly enough, the time when I had the worse work/life balance was when I was still early in my professional life and worked at a law firm – I was working 60 hours a week. It was hellish.

  59. Phoebe2*

    Your field
    -Management Consulting at a big 4
    Your job
    -run projects for government and public sector entities; lead business development efforts; write white papers and other eminence; lead people-focused efforts (mentoring programs, recruiting, etc).

    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that)
    -Senior-level with P&L responsibilities.

    Average number of hours you work per week
    -50 to 55, 60-65 when you count travel time if I’m traveling for project work that week. Bad weeks up to 80, but that’s only a few times a year.

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation
    -always plugged in; but me more than others probably. But at this level and with responsibilities I can’t just turn off. We don’t control when proposals will come out or when my executive level (c-suite) client will need something.

    Any other context you want to add
    -I get very generous Paid Time Off (30 days plus like 12-15 holidays); I never use is. But I also have a lot of flexibility. Not in one place all the time, make decisions on how to manage my time as long as I get the work done.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      I think I’d like to get into management consulting at some point (my current position has some elements of it). I’d like to find out how you got into it if you’d be open to discussing it on today’s open thread.

  60. Government*

    Senior Level
    50 hrs/week on average, significantly more when on travel, or when an issue is heating up.
    Check regularly on weekends. On vacation check at least once per day, usually in a predictable time range so people know when they might hear from me.
    Context: I have a very capable, hardworking team that I trust to handle things in my absence.

  61. Cultural Cat Herder*

    – Museums/cultural institutions
    – Mid-levelish (department manager at a very small institution)
    -~35-40, occasionally more for special events
    – Weekends and evenings are required. I am lucky enough to be able to flex my time or get comp time at my current job, but this was not always the case and is honestly pretty rare in the field. Check email during off hours but don’t reply after a certain time or on non-working weekends if it is not time-senstive.

  62. ZuZu*

    –Mid level
    –35 – 40
    –Definitely expected to keep an eye on email/messages outside of regular office hours for last minute changes (for example, someone needs to cancel a job interview last minute) but I’m not expected to follow up outside of work hours unless it’s super urgent. I usually check my work email once or twice at night and once in the morning before I leave the house. Totally unplugged for vacations.
    –When I worked in agency recruiting, I worked 45 – 50 hours/week and was expected to be almost 100% plugged in outside of work hours. I’m in a corporate role now, and work/life balance is much more prioritized by the company. It’s very dependent on where you work.

  63. WooHoo*

    Regional government agency
    Public Relations
    Mid-level subject matter expert
    Varies depending on season, but usually 35-40 in the office (or at meetings) and “on call” 24/7 if something comes up.
    Very plugged in and almost always available if needed. Vaca is a bit different and I try to unplug completely.
    Working in PR, specifically media relations, reporters can (and do) call me all the time. They expect interviews on weekends if it’s something important. I also have a lot of public meetings, community stuff, etc. that has me working early mornings, late nights and weekends. That being said, though, I have lots of flexibility and if I want to come in at 10A one morning, provided I’m not skipping out on meetings, that’s OK.

  64. Artsy*

    In my old job

    Mid-level like, 8 years experience but team manager
    The arts
    At least a 40 hour week and routinely expected to be on call and answering emails even on holiday
    But that did balance out with the odd quiet 15-20 hour week

  65. KHB*

    Nonprofit STEM publication
    Senior Editor
    Mid-level, I guess (despite the “senior” in my title, there’s a whole level of editors above me)
    40 hours in the office. Occasionally a few more (rarely more than 5) at home.
    No expectation that I be “plugged in” per se, but the nature of this job means that most of my work happens inside my brain, and that’s one thing that’s hard to unplug. I’m always thinking about my next article, so it feels like I’m always in “work mode,” even when I’m doing my own stuff on my own time. My job gives me a lot of satisfaction, though, so I don’t mind so much.

  66. V*

    Statistical programmer
    Senior sme
    I have to make it clear if I’m taking a vacation that I will be offline for it, but that’s fine if I am. I don’t do evenings and weekends outside of crunches. The amount of crunch work is variable but usually not more than a month a year.

    Context: also I am always challenging culture to stick to a reasonable work life balance and have been able to progress to a very senior individual contributor role but will probably never make management. But I’m good with that.

    1. Cedrus Libani*

      Similar field, similar experience. There are crunches, and I’m flexible during those times, but my workload is generally reasonable. I’m an individual contributor; that’s unlikely to change. Managers tend to be workaholics. My grand-boss basically does two jobs – her people management duties plus technical work – and works two jobs’ worth of hours. She could hire another report, she just likes to keep her hands dirty.

  67. Birch*

    Academia (STEM, but a science field that some consider not STEM)
    Research postdoc (year 2 of first postdoc)
    “Early career”
    40-45 (contracted for 35). It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s as much as I can do right now.
    Hard to tell how plugged in I’m supposed to be. I’m told off for communicating evenings and weekends, but also scolded for not getting things done fast enough, not being in the office whenever someone looks for me, not responding fast enough to issues, and the team has multiple ways to contact each other so I can get texts from students 24/7.

    1. Birch*

      Oh, this was not including the Saturdays I got scheduled for, which were typically between 5 and 12 hour days. When we’re in testing mode, it’s 6 day work weeks with long days and I definitely don’t get overtime for anything, but that happens maybe twice a year for a couple of months at a time, at most.

  68. Adereterial*

    -UK Civil Service (in one of the devolved administrations)
    -Policy advisor/project manager/government business manager
    -I’m a Senior Executive Officer by grade. In reality I’m mid-level.
    -I’m contracted for 37 hours, but work flexi time. Some weeks I work more, some less, depending on business needs. I have a worked 50+ but only in exceptional circumstances
    -Not very, and it’s actively discouraged. DEFINITELY not expected to give up holiday time.
    -This does all vary, of course – during the run up to the original Brexit deadline I was working long hours and there was talk of leave being cancelled. I have a good Director and manager who insist we switch off as much as we can. We work to live – not the other way round.

  69. animaniactoo*

    – Product Design/Manufacturing
    – Creative Manager (Designer)
    – Upper Mid-Level (Not quite senior, I have no one who works directly *for* me, but I am the “senior opinion/experience” on the team and have been an unofficial team lead at points).
    – 45/week
    – I’m plugged in for vacation/off sick/etc. but am rarely contacted. Lately I seem to have joined the night shift when our Production Manager is dealing with factories overseas and getting my approval today instead of tomorrow could mean the difference of a week on shipping, but it’s maybe 1x a month and takes about 20-30 minutes.

    My job IS deadline driven so there are weeks when I’m at 50-60 hours, but it is much less than it used to be. Mostly, my department was a startup section of the company and was run that way for a long time so there was a lot more crunch time than there is now that we have more consistent deadlines and business needs and they can be juggled more easily. However, we also have the dry spells…. and it can be a long dry spell some years where there’s about 6 weeks with absolutely nothing to do, even after you’ve tended to all the backburner stuff that was dragging for months.

  70. TotesMaGoats*

    Higher Education
    Somewhere between mid-level and senior.
    Assistant Dean
    Average of 45 hours a week “in the office” Another 10 or so before and after on email
    In my current role I can probably be less on call than I actually am. I’m leaving for vacay at 5pm today. I will only check emails a couple times during the next week. I could probably get away with not checking at all but there are a few time sensitive things that only I can do that must be done from vacation. I’ve gotten a lot better about ignoring the phone during family time. My bosses do a good job of disconnecting but my mom (also in my field and a respected leader at another institution) who in many ways is the most professional person I know does a crap job of it and works herself to the bone without a drop of appreciation has set a bad example in that way. So we make a deal on vacation about email checking. I do remove my work email from my phone on vacation so at least it’s not front and center.

    1. TotesMaGoats*

      And my big boss, THE dean, just came in to do a final check in and reminded me to not be on email on vacation.

      I should also add that sick leave is never questioned either for me or for my kid. If you are sick, stay home or go home. I’m trying to be better on them not having to twist my arm and send me home. If I feel crappy, I stay home. My 300+ hours of sick leave will cover it. (State employee benefits FTW.)

        1. TotesMaGoats*

          Especially during election season when the Gov gives extra days off to all state employees. We appreciated that long July 4th holiday.

  71. RMNPgirl*

    Field – Medical Laboratory Science
    Level – Supervisor
    Avg hours per week – 40-45
    I work in a blood center and oversee the two departments that are staffed 24/7/365. I’m pretty much expected to be available to answer phone calls/emails at all hours and to come in and see off shifts on a regular basis. I do try to disconnect some on vacation but the only times I’ve truly disconnected have been on trips in which I did not have any cell service (national parks, foreign country, cruise).
    In the healthcare industry it’s pretty expected that you’ll have to be available in the evening and on weekends. However, moving up as allowed me more flexibility so when I do come in to see overnight, I can adjust my working hours.

  72. AliceBD*

    Healthcare, doing marketing for a large physician practice.
    Mid-level (8 years post-college).
    40ish hours a week but no one checks so some weeks I leave a little early on Fridays and some weeks I have a late meeting.
    No expectation for working evenings and weekends OTHER than the fact that because I handle social media I do keep an eye on things on weekends by not turning off social or email notifications on my phone but I don’t actually go check anything in apps unless I see something major. I get occasional emails outside of work hours from administrative people and plenty of emails from physicians outside of work hours but don’t respond. No expectation that I work on PTO days.

  73. Comms is not marketing is not comms*

    – Business-oriented non-profit (think a chamber of commerce)
    – Communications & Marketing
    – Report to CEO but have no reports. I manage ~3 consultants.
    – 45-50 hrs/wk
    – My boss and colleagues are plugged in all the time to email and work projects. Ironically, the comms person (me) unplugs the most. We don’t experience emergencies that are related to our work place: they tend to be other people’s problems. I do monitor social platforms off hours and respond as needed.
    – I was “on the clock” 50 hrs/wk until my boss switched my job from comms to marketing and took away all the external relations work I was hired to do. Now I take my lunch breaks to do those meetings. I’m still working the same hours but am actively job hunting during my “lunch breaks.”

  74. Internal Auditor*

    Internal Auditor
    Senior auditor (the step below management)
    Mid-level, highly experienced.
    40, maybe a bit more based on project deadlines
    Evenings/weekends – dependent on workload/deadlines. Vacation – no.

    In my field, this is highly culture dependent. Some companies are high travel, long hours, etc. Some are no/limited travel very standard hours. And everything in between. I personally opt out of the high travel ones.

    I’m also NOT interested in being promoted to manager within an audit function, for personal reasons. That changes my actions a bit. Agree with TaxAccountant above – they’re quite similar.

  75. Alternative Person*

    -Language Teaching
    -Specialist Teacher at Language School
    -Teaching is flat-ish hierarchy wise, but I work for a top-level school.
    -34-36 hours in office split between teaching and prep-work, more teaching in busy periods
    -Available enough that I don’t drop any balls- I might get a question about a student on my day off that needs attention but it’s usually five minutes and done but most things can wait until I’m back in the office. The bigger time sink is marking/prep but that tends to come in waves (and is dependent on class size) so I can plan around it pretty well.

    Management and management-adjacent positions are expected to be more responsive but they generally spend less time teaching.

  76. cwhfstl*

    Physician (attending)
    Slow week is 50+; Busy week can be 70-80
    For me I am expected to be available for questions, emergencies most of the time including weekends and evenings; for busy weeks where I am on in the hospital, I am in house weekends and have even more calls at night. That said, because of my highly specialised area of expertise and limited availability of that expertise at my institution, I take more calls on weekends and evenings than others might in another scenario. I will acknowledge my work life balance is not very good. But I love my job most of the time.

  77. Czhorat*

    -I guess A&E, broadly speaking? (technology design – primarily audiovisual for an MEP firm)
    – Senior Consultant
    – Mid/senior level
    – Generally hold to 40-hours per week, though sometimes creeps up to 50 or even 60 if there’s an unusually tight deadline or some other crisis.

    I sometimes receive emails after hours, but unless I’m supporting a project in a different time zone they can often wait for business hours the next day. There is an expectation that for emergencies we’ll be reachable, but that is, again, rare.

    Vacation is vacation; we arrange coverage and leave the vacationing person alone. Then again, I do ancillary work in my off time:
    I read and write industry-related blog posts for a trade site during my commute.
    I will be giving an internal training session which I’ll likely write during my commute. This will take several hours.
    I engage in a semi-moderated Twitter discussion on the field and technology every Sunday morning for a couple of hours.

    The above has been very much instrumental in building a reputation and profile in the industry; it’s helped me get where I am today.

    1. Anonym*

      You bring up an extremely relevant distinction for the OP to consider: it’s not just the work you do for your current job that counts toward your career success. We may opt to do voluntary homework (of a sort) for our careers, and some careers or particular ambitions may especially benefit from it.

  78. anonymous for this*

    Senior – report directly to CEO
    40-50 – more at year end and during financing crunches
    Generally be available (I unloaded my business email from my phone a year or so ago and only load it back if I’m expecting something) I do respond to texts ASAP because those are rare and usually time sensitive/critical

  79. Nora*

    Marketing manager
    45 avg, with some evening/wknd coverage
    This post is sooo timely. I value life and don’t want to burn out. I’ve seen someone close to me get burned out and I swore I will never go that route. My company is established and old fashion. Their philosophy is that you have to move up every 2 to 4 years, which translates to take on more work. Even my boss says it’s expected of me to take on more and move up. Everyone is working towards the next level: from VP to SVP to EVP. These people have little of life outside of work. I’m fine where I am. I don’t care about making more money, it’s not my primary driver. So frustrated, because I believe in this business and this product.

    1. Nora*

      Vacation is vacation,no need to connect. Something else to note: if there are fires to be put down, someone can’t handle the project/workload, I’m the go-to person to take over and fix it. There are specific projects that I will work 50-60hrs a week. Yet, that doesn’t count as taking on more. The expectation is that I’ll do that consistently. Life is too short for this.

  80. Catsaber*

    Higher education IT (large state university)
    data warehouse developer
    40-45 hours per week

    There is monitoring in place and rotating on-call teams to handle most issues with our databases/servers, so I don’t have to be too plugged in, but I am expected to address issues that can’t be resolved by the on-call teams if it’s not too much of an interruption for me. The exception to this is a downed production system of course. We also have issues sometimes with our data load jobs failing, but most of the time it’s from a network blip and we can quickly address it. So I’m sort of “on call” but I’m not expected to let it significantly impact my life. I don’t get woken up at night, I don’t get called on vacation, etc. The only times there was significant intrusion into my personal life was during something like a major upgrade that went awry, and we were expecting to work crazy hours anyway.

    With higher ed IT, no one is really doing any work in our applications at nights and on the weekends, so most problems can be addressed during the business day. We do do production patching/uprades on off-hours, but again, that’s planned (and compensated).

    1. Catsaber*

      Re: advancing professionally, in my dept I think they are looking more for taking on challenging projects and duties outside of your normal scope, because they want us to all be versatile (cuz we don’t have the money to hire all the people we actually need!). So I think there is the expectation that you cram that in somehow, but because we’re a state agency, there are strict rules about compensatory time, so I don’t see too many people actually working significant after-hours for advancement. Also there’s just a lot of “it’s who you know” going on. But people in higher ed typically advance by switching positions within the university – colleges like to hire staffers from within, because we know the higher ed industry, and our school specifically – and because there are crazy rules about how much money you can make in your pay grade, so it’s almost always better to get a new title or reclassify if you want a significant pay increase.

  81. Ama*

    Non-profit (medical research/advocacy)
    Grant Administrator
    Mid-level to senior (still mid-level manager by title but I am the department head and report directly to our CEO)
    40 hours during quiet periods. Certain times a year that may go up to 45-50 for about a 4-6 week period. In a week where my department is running a meeting could be closer to 60-75 (depending on length of meeting).
    I make myself available on evenings and weekends for the 4-6 week period we are reviewing grant applications, but it is more of an “on call” than definite working hours. And events have some evening/weekend responsibilities but those are known well in advance.
    Vacations I am usually able to schedule during the quietest periods and far enough out from any deadlines that no one needs to contact me. My boss and direct report know how to reach me if there is an emergency but there has yet to be one.

    (That said, I just want to add in here that I have noticed that people above me at my organization make themselves more readily available on vacation/weekends and I have actually been seriously considering whether I want to advance any further if that is truly the expectation and not just them having a harder time unplugging.)

    1. Lady Director*

      I’d echo this. I’ve always had difficulty unplugging but you know what? I’m trying now and the world hasn’t ended yet.

  82. Megasaurusus*

    Higher Education
    Financial Aid Counselor
    40 hours per week, no more – no less (except two weekends a year where we come in for a couple hours on Saturday for orientation/parent weekends)

    Never check email when I’m not at work.

    As everyone who works in higher ed knows, they pay isn’t fabulous, but the benefits are, things like 8% 401K match, incredible job security, free gym, library (including digital newspaper access), absurd amount of holidays no one else gets off in the working world, generous PTO and sick time – and the best benefit of all, leaving your work at work and going home to your family and life.

  83. DrinkEatTypeRepeat*

    – Food and beverage manufacturing
    – Communications manager
    – Mid-level
    – 42 hr/wk average (though some outlier weeks like the current one can approach 50-55)
    – Nights and weekends, I keep an eye on our social media and general email to make sure a crisis isn’t brewing, but that’s pretty much expected of Comms/PR people in any industry. The clock is never off-off evenings/weekends, but it’s very much a background thing. Vacation is absolutely respected and those responsibilities temporarily shift elsewhere.
    – This field doesn’t make it impossible to find 9-5 (most of my days are 9-5), but it’s not great for someone inflexible about off-hours contact or the occasional special project that requires more work. If you’re talking event-side comms/PR, multiply all my answers by at least 1.5.

  84. Not So Super-visor*

    Customer Service Manager
    Average number of hours you work per week: 50-60
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: no one typically reaches out to me on evenings/weekends, but I do end up spending time on weekends catching up on reports when we’re short staffed and I can’t get through them during the week.

    1. your picasso is in the mail*

      Logistics (very high value commodities)
      Average number of hours you work per week: 40-50
      How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: current job tries to leave us alone during vacations – but inevitably I’ll check my email the first day or two to make sure important emails are being passed on to the colleague covering my desk. Regarding wee hours of the night and weekends – given the nature of what I am responsible for there are times where I am watching my email like a hawk and cell phones are on and shared to all involved (you would be too if 50M+ worth of irreplaceable stuff was traveling internationally on a Saturday night). But these are the exceptions and I do not normally check email unless one of these high stress transports are happening. I very rarely give out my cell number. I want to highlight that my current job really stresses a healthy work/life balance. Last 2 jobs in this field, less so and I worked a lot more hours per week and was contacted during vacation/sick days/weekends a lot more.

      1. Another Steve G*

        40-45 hours a week
        I work M-F 7:30-4 usually end up here 30-90 minutes late cleaning up the day. I rarely get calls overnight, but frequent calls over the weekend. I’m left alone when I go on vacation though. It’s pretty similar hours to mine in my field entry-level through exec depending on the company and your exact scope of work.

  85. MKE_Hotel*

    -Corporate Group Sales (major full service hotel chain)
    -Mid-level? (I’m in my mid-30’s and I’ve been in the industry in some aspect my whole adult life)
    -45-ish hours/week
    (I have great flexibility to get some personal things done at work as long as my clients are taken care of. Also am able to schedule offiste appointments around personal appointments)
    -I don’t give my personal phone number to clients unless if it’s a rare occasion, but I do have an eye on email just about all of the time. It’s honestly to make things easier than me – if I can send a quick response when I’m standing in line at the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and know that’s one less thing to be on my plate Monday morning, then I’m happy to do it. With that being said, my clients are all corporations, so they are rarely working nights or weekends and don’t expect me to be working then either. I have colleagues who work with social groups that wind up taking week days off to come in on Saturdays.

    1. Bridget*

      ^^ this.

      I’m 29 and a catering director in a mid-size hotel. I work 47 hours a week (3 days 8-5 and 2 days 8-6) on average with extra stuff occasionally, though less as I’ve moved into the director role.

      Clients don’t get my cell number unless they ask the day of an event (usually so they don’t have to call through the hotel switchboard to get in touch with me) but I do check email pretty constantly. It’s hard to say how much of that is an expectation of the job and how much is my own Inbox(0) personality. I will say that I will generally respond to coworkers/my director or GM during off-hours much more so than I would respond to a client outside of work (unless extremely urgent).

    2. Hotel GM*

      I figure we might as well make this the hospitality thread.

      – GM at a 120-ish room upper midscale location (think along the lines of a Hampton, Fairfield, or Holiday Inn Express)
      -Mid level in my management company, but this position would be senior in a one-off franchise owner environment.
      – Realistically it’s like 35 hours, 85% of the time, and like 70 hours 15% of the time. I empower my staff and give them quite a bit of authority to take care of things, so I don’t have to do much of putting out fires. I’m networked with GMs who work 50+ hours a week every week all year.
      – I do not check my email after 4pm or on weekends (although my boss sends things out after midnight sometimes), however I’m always on call if something happens at the property after hours that needs handled. There’s no expectation for anybody in our company to be reachable during vacation (a very generous 5 weeks per year). I’ve only had a covering GM call me once on vacation, and it was to ask a specific password that I had forgotten to put on my password document.

      1. Bridget*

        Uh, what hospitality management company (or direct company rather than a franchise??) do you work for? I get one week of vacation, and only after I’ve been here a year. And most hospitality companies I’ve worked for have been similar. One even capped your paid vacation at 2 weeks, regardless of how long you had worked there.

        1. Hotel GM*

          Well I don’t want to say exactly which one, but it’s not one of the solo management companies like Interstate or Aimbridge. I work for one of the brand corporate companies like Hilton/Mariott/Hyatt/Wyndham/Choice

          1. Hotel GM*

            And to add, it’s 3 weeks initially, 4 weeks after 5 years of service, and 5 weeks after 10 years, for general managers and VPs. Hourly staff and salaried management below the GM level have a week less, so I think you’d fall into that as catering director. It’s still quite a bit though. Both of my maintenance guys and 3 of my housekeepers are over the 10 year mark and I make sure they take their full month off every year.

            1. Bridget*

              That’s amazing. I’ve only worked for management companies, never directly for a brand. You sound like a great manager! I’ve mainly worked for a specific brand of hotel that I love because of the associate discounts on rooms so I would LOVE to work directly for that brand someday. Just hasn’t happened quite yet!

  86. KarenK*

    Medical Education
    Program Manager
    Hierarchy is a bit weird, but I’d put myself at mid-level. There’s no one below me, per se, but I have ton of experience in my field and there are people “above” me in the hierarchy.
    Between 35 and 40
    I do check email nights, weekends, and random days off, but do not during what I consider “true” vacations, i.e., 5 or more working days off.

    I come in anytime between 7 am and 9 am, but I go home at 4 pm every day. I do not attend evening meetings, although sometimes I probably should. I don’t travel, as responsibilities at home preclude this. I have a great deal of flexibility and independence in my job. I think that if I were to want to move up in Medical Education Administration, the boundaries I have set would probably work against me, but honestly? I’m okay with that. I’ve been in my position (or something like it), for almost 30 years and am looking toward retirement. I have no desire to further my career.

  87. 4Sina*

    Cultural Institutions
    Mid-level, after a decade of internships, seasonal, PT, and then FT work, not always directly in my field
    Around 40
    I draw a hard boundary on being unplugged – anything short of a life or death situation is not getting a response. am the millenial being written about derisively – I refuse to work after 5 pm or before 9 am, unless it’s for a special reason (some weekends or late evenings, but I usually am dictating the schedule) .
    I do not check emails at home, you’ll get a response after 9 am. My time is my time, and I do not owe my company or my work more of myself than absolutely necessary, even though I love and am committed to my field. However, as much as I may feel enriched by and see the value of my work, I will never prioritize it over living an actual life.

  88. Sue Ellen Crandell*

    Mid/senior level
    40 hours/week
    My current job in academia is very different from my previous job in the public sector. Here, I’m not expected to do anything outside office hours, unless it’s an emergency or a scheduled event. (Dates and hours for events are usually set months in advance.)

    At Old Job (mid level) my manager would email at all hours and on the weekend. If you weren’t caught up when you came in on Monday morning she’d be visibly annoyed. If you didn’t respond on your work email or phone during holidays she would reach out on Facebook messenger (we were not FB friends and I blocked her when I left the company). You were also expected to network and keep yourself updated on anything related to Old Job on social media or in the news. This was not a healthy environment and the main reason why I left.

  89. Web Content Marketing Manager*

    Web Content Marketing Manager / Web Producer / Web Content Person
    Occasionally have to log in at night for emergencies/project deadlines, once every two months or so. We do have quarterly releases that require Midnight – 8 AM work but we rotate that in my department. Am usually checking emails at night.

    Summers I go home at like 3 on Fridays if I can. I can also WFH and often leave early during the day. If I work a release night, I get an extra day off.

  90. JessP*

    Higher Ed/ Healthcare
    Clinical Librarian
    Mid, I guess? Assistant Professor and tenure track faculty
    This is very position dependent in librarianship. I have colleagues in archives or more traditional reference services at other libraries, who don’t have email on their phone and are able to protect their time off as truly off. Since I’m clinical, I will answer emails that are patient management or remote access at whatever day/hour I receive them, but article request/most lit searches can wait until I’m back in the office. For vacation I leave an OOO message stating I’ll have intermittent email access with a contact for urgent requests, but still may respond if something needs my expertise, is from a patron I need to build inroads with, or a project I have some kind of stakes in. If my boss or a colleague needs to contact me, they would text or call my cell, but outside of outreach event coordination or conferences, that has only happened twice–both regarding covering a class the next morning, so they couldn’t risk waiting on email.
    For me, potential for advancement comes down to meeting expectations in other areas–I’m not exactly expected to be on call at all hours, but I am expected to complete my work, participate in research and publish, and maintain good relationships with my patrons. I might not be held back by not answering emails after 6pm, but there are times when meeting other expectations necessitate working outside of office hours (working on my manuscripts, emailing faculty, etc), and we have enough freedom as faculty that I haven’t had any trouble finding balance in those cases.

  91. MysteriouMise*

    Your field: Law
    Your job: Attorney
    Level: Partner
    Age: 40-45
    Average number of hours you work- 40-45
    How plugged in:not really. As plugged in as you want to be
    Any other context you want to add: I’m in a European country , where’s there’s no at will employment, excellent statutory protections, maternity leave etc. I have two young kids.

  92. Tech Writer Tucker*

    – Software / “technology”
    – Technichal writer
    – Mid-level; explicitly not on a management track
    – 40 hours per week
    – General expectation is that vacation is for vacating; I check my email once every couple of days when I’m on vacation but that’s above & beyond
    – For context: my first job as a tech writer and tester, I got brought on in February, spent all of March working sixty-hour weeks to ship a project (successfully), and got laid off in April. At that point I promised myself that I would never engage in “crunch time” or overtime except in special circumstances, with clearly defined boundaries.

  93. Wildeabandon*

    Higher Education Administration
    Mid/Senior level
    I usually work about 35-40 hours/week, and have a lot of flexibility around when I work them. Most of the time I’m not expected to be available on weekends or evenings.

    There’s a couple of crunch periods each year when I’ll work longer hours for a couple of weeks including weekends and evenings.

    I’m a career interim, which changes the dynamic, and I’ve seen a lot of variation in working hours and patterns from permies in similar roles. Many will work a similar numbers of hours to me although usually in a more regimented 9-5 pattern. Some will work a lot more, but generally not in healthy institutions.

  94. HR Recruiter*

    Recruitment Consulting
    Recruitment Consultant with an agency, although a really good one
    Mid-level, been at this a few years
    40ish hours per week, flexibility with children etc but I also sometimes do interviews and check email in the evenings.
    Since I serve clients I’m generally plugged in enough to deal with crises or answer questions to make clients feel well taken care of. Since my clients are professional organizations they don’t usually expect responses on the weekends, but I find that evenings are fair game. For vacation, it’s hard to just shut off for a week so I try to set myself up to not need to do much on vacation and let clients know I will be checking email less often. Then just check email once a day and make any urgent phone calls to follow up on interviews or organize an offer.

  95. Asmodeus-ish*

    -Fashion Industry (Mass Market)
    -Senior Designer
    -Mid-Level (Manager)
    -45-50 hours/week
    -Expected to be always available by email – evenings, weekends, vacation, sick days
    -This industry is very unforgiving of personal time, and it gets worse as you advance. Not a lot of PTO, lunch is eaten while working, and lots of travel.

  96. PhillyRedhead*

    Your field: Marketing department of a financial services company
    Your job: Graphic designer
    Level: Mid-level (individual contributor, no management involved, but I have 10+ years of work experience)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 (there’s a rare week that I work 50 hours in a week, but I think that’s happened twice in the two years I’ve been here)
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not at all, my company really respects work/life balance, even for managers (we always have someone else we can reach out to for questions/emergencies if our direct manager is out of the office)

  97. Beancounter Eric*

    Field: Finance & Accounting
    Current Job: Controller
    Level: Senior
    Hours per week: In office, 50. Informal CPE, department planning, etc. outside office, another 10 or so, depending on the season, product rollouts, etc.
    How plugged in: So-so – our remote access is limited at the moment, but I glance at email on the electronic leash in the evenings, more as a heads-up on what to expect when I get to the office in the morning.

    From the mid 1990’s until middle of last decade, was working 80-100 hours a week in office in similar role.

    Considered it normal, price of the career. Wound up in hospital for a month with a heart attack/stroke.

    Thinking back, wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

  98. AnonForThis*

    Your field: banking
    Your job: strategy and implementation
    Level: mid-level
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: manager expects me to fully unplug when out.
    Additional context: while “paying my dues” there were definitely times where I worked early and late to make sure my performance was strong on specific projects, but as I gained more experience the extra hours aren’t as necessary.

  99. anonymoushiker*

    Nonprofit Social Services (Homeless services + longer term programs)
    Director of Administraition
    40 hours per week, (35 taking out lunch, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more)
    It’s totally fine for me to not be available on email/phone over the weekend, work life balance is highly valued although not always modelled by all senior or mid level people.

  100. Marion Cotesworth-Haye*

    Law (BigLaw)
    Mid- to senior-level
    Varies widely between slow periods (20 hours/week) and highs (80 hours/week) based on client needs
    Lots of recognition that folks should take advantage of slow times, but simultaneous expectation that you will be available at odd hours if client emergency unless on family/medical leave, honeymoon, or location with extreme connectivity/time zone challenges

  101. hamstergirl*

    Your field: Film Industry/Digital Marketing (Think producing content for both entertainment and marketing purposes and then also managing the campaigns it’s associated with)
    Job: Project Manager/Digital Producer
    Level: Mid-Level
    Hours: It probably averages at around 45, but the funny thing about the film industry and the digital marketing industry is that when things are quiet, you can have a really nice work-life balance, but when a show is in production or it’s launch week on a big campaign you can be looking at 50-60+ hours/week. I once had a 2-month stretch where I was working about 90 hours every week which was ridiculous and I’m grateful it was only 2 months.
    Generally, the expectation is that you’ll keep an eye on your e-mail during evenings and weekends as well as the online campaigns you’re managing. With e-mails it’s generally seen as, take a look and use your judgement about whether it can wait until tomorrow to be dealt with, but with the digital campaigns, if it’s social media especially, the expectation is that you deal with comments, messages etc. as they happen, so you should always be watching notifications for that, but generally the more senior you are the larger the team you have to keep eyes out for that so it ends up being less of a stressor.

    The film industry is definitely one where work life balance goes by month instead of hours in a week. Particularly in senior roles you have to devote nearly every waking minute to a project in production and then in a few months when you’re wrapped you can do nothing for a month, take a 3-week trip to Thailand, you do you! This works for some people, but you have to be pretty passionate about the industry itself in order for that lifestyle to be sustainable beyond your 20s.

  102. LawBee*

    Your field: Law (obvs)

    Your job: Associate attorney

    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: if my firm had these levels, I’d be a senior associate, not partner-track (because I don’t want to be on the partner track at this firm)
    Average number of hours you work per week: varies WIDELY. If it’s a travel week, I’m pulling 14-16 hour days, so my week could easily be 50-60 hours. If it’s an office week with no deadlines, I make an effort to be in by 9:30, out by 5:30, and take a lunch.

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: hahahahahaha I am probably EXPECTED to be available for all of those things. I stopped answering weekend emails a few months ago. I took my email app off of my phone when I went on vacation two months ago and have not put it back on. So far, no repercussions.

    Any other context you want to add: It is definitely possible to work 50+ hours every week, and I know the partners in my firm do this regularly. They are also, with two exceptions, middle-aged men with wives who don’t work outside the home, so they have the support to do that. It’s easier to keep the homestead rolling if someone else can help with the garbage, dinners, appointments, etc.. I decided a few years ago that, as many of the commentariat have said, I work to live, not the other way around. If that means that I don’t get the massive bonus or huge pay raise or whatever, then that’s ok. Sacrifices are made in either direction, and this is the way I’ve gone.

  103. Sneaky Ninja for this one*

    Healthcare, non clinical.
    40ish hours. Once in a great while a little extra, usually because I want to get something finished.
    Previous boss would bug me on the weekends with high-work emergencies he “just found out about” Current boss rarely/never bugs me on the weekend or after hours unless it’s truly urgent. Maybe 1-2 times a year.

  104. AnonymousReporter*

    Your field: Journalism
    Your job: Investigative reporter
    Level: Mid-Career
    Hours: 45-50

    Plugged in: Depends on the story I’m working on. Sometimes I meet with sources on weekends and evenings when it’s more convenient for them. When I’m being edited, I’m glued to my email in case last minute changes come in from my editors. Fortunately, I can usually completely unplug on vacation.

    Any other context you want to add: I’m in the US. I used to work for a news wire (so, breaking news) and 50 hrs was the minimum, and I was always on the hook. Editors would call at 10pm because something had happened and I needed to file a story. I spent one vacation waking up at 5am in Asia to catch my editor in the US before the end of his workday so we could finish a feature that had a hard deadline to publish. I survived that atmosphere for 4 years then totally burned out.

  105. AwkwardTurtle*

    – International Development
    – Research Associate
    – Entry level
    – 40 hours
    – Unless there’s something truly urgent, I don’t read emails on my off days at all
    – I’m the most junior on my team so that may influence how much time I’m on the clock. Also, since we’re on a contract, we have a certain number of billable hours.

    1. Researchalator Lady*

      Your field: Academia
      Your job: Research Associate
      Level: Mid-Career
      Hours: 35

      How plugged in: Once I’ve left work, nothing is expected of me.

      Any other context you want to add: I’m in Canada. My hours are very flexible. I have some chronic health conditions and so am not expected to arrive at any particular time unless there is a scheduled meeting or conference call. Often these get scheduled at the end of the day as my boss prefers this as well so I can end up staying late into the evening. My boss is, in theory, fine with me “borrowing” the time from the next day (coming in later or leaving earlier). However, I am also responsible for the project deliverables at the end of the day and in past “crunch times” have worked 60+ hour weeks. The staff I supervise are unionized while I am exempt.

  106. goducks*

    Director of Administration
    Senior level
    Mid 40’s
    45ish hours in the office, some availability via email after hours.

    I gotta say, though, that my job was way more time intensive in my 20s and early 30s as I was building my reputation. In my mid 30s I had kids and had to claw back some better work/life balance. I do feel like those early years of putting in 60 hour weeks earned me the respect to be able to determine what I am and am not willing to do on my own time. As much as it sucks, I do think that paying your dues is a real thing much of the time. I’m not sure that I’d be where I am at today if I hadn’t spent all those hours working two decades ago.

  107. Bob1992*

    – Fintech
    – Finance/ Strategy
    – Mid-Level (I’m a manager, but 4 years out of school)
    – 60 hours on a normal week, 80 sometimes.
    – Plugged in pretty much as long as I’m awake.

    I’m in the office from about 9 to 6 on a regular day. Usually work 3-4 hours in the evenings. The flip side is, I can work remote and it doesn’t really matter if I need to take care of the occasional errand or doctor’s appointment during normal work hours. There’s a lot to do/ the hours are long, but the work is interesting and I’m compensated well for it.

  108. Emma*

    – Law/ Tech
    – In house legal counsel at a tech company
    – intermediate (worked at a firm for 5 years, 18 months in my current position)
    – about 45 hours a week on average. Sometimes more if something major is going on. I often do some emails and occasionally work a few hours after dinner/on weekends, but probably could do less and still have my job, I just like to get things out of the way. I don’t work on vacation, except for the occasional email redirect (please contact XYZ since I am out the office). My hours are very flexible in general.
    – I spent 5 years at a large firm where I had no personal life whatsoever and was constantly on call. I’m so glad I’m not doing that anymore but it was definitely part of the culture over there, even for more senior folks with a few narrow exceptions. Now I sometimes work long hours but have a lot of flexibility and can push back if something’s not working for me (within reason – it’s not a strict 9-5 and sometimes we have emergencies we need to deal with).
    – my boss and a number of my colleagues do have my cell number. Most of them don’t abuse it. Sometimes I need to gently push back and that’s usually worked fine because I know my boss has my back.

  109. Erin (who works from home)*

    – Children’s Entertainment
    – Talent Coordinator
    – Mid-level — I manage about 30 contractors
    – 40 hours/week
    – I am on-call pretty much 24/7 — my job involves sending live contractors into venues to provide live entertainment, and I need to be available for any issues that spring up pertaining to them getting there, being on time, performer illness, inclement weather, client need for rescheduling, facility problems, etc. Sometimes these things conveniently happen during the workday; sometimes I get a contractor calling me at 4:00 AM with an ear infection and that’s when I start my workday.
    That being said, if I don’t have emergencies, I’m not expected to work off the clock.

  110. PretzelGirl*

    Mental Health/Social Work
    Administrative Assistant
    40 hrs
    Not plugged in at all
    It helps that I am in the mental health/social work field. While I am not a SW, I get the benefits. Our company takes great strides to prevent burn out. My managers, and other managers rarely are in communication when they are out.

  111. Flipper*

    Your field – Defense Contracting
    Your job – Software Engineer
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior – senior and project lead
    Average number of hours you work per week – 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – none

  112. aryalistening*

    Academia (research)
    Project coordinator
    lower-mid level (supervise a team of 3)
    40-45 hrs (which mainly means working through lunch, not staying late)
    Not expected to stay in touch at all evenings, weekends, or when on vacation
    The work is such that I’m not allowed to take it home with me, and the workload is what it should be for the position, so there’s no need to stay in the office late. But, the highers ups also support this separation, and work/life balance in general, which I appreciate. We do come in one Saturday a month, but we take a weekday as comp time that same week, so it evens out.

  113. ThatGirl*

    – Digital marketing/consumer goods/B2B and B2C
    – Copywriter/editor
    – Mid-level (age 38, have spent ~12 years in the general marketing realm)
    – 40 hours per week, have had occasional swings up to 45
    – At my last company, we were VERY occasionally needed on evenings or weekends to meet deadlines. At my current one, there is a very good work-life balance, though some higher-level managers are expected to work some longer hours during critical times. Vacations are generally off-limits for being contacted.
    – I should note I’ve always been an individual contributor; I’ve seen occasional managers/directors do some work off-hours or check their email during PTO time. But I’ve definitely advanced in my career without needing to give up my free time.

  114. poo doctor*

    in software development – if you’re working for corporate groups doing internal apps or manufacturing environment the balance tends to be very good as many levels. If you’re in the video game industry or start-up world i think the opposite is true.

  115. Marshbilly, not Hillbilly*

    Regulatory Compliance
    Senior level (20+ years experience with an engineering degree)
    40 average, occasionally work a little more around some submittal deadlines
    Evenings/weekends – I’m expected to occasionally check my e-mail or my phone to see if anything urgent is going on. If things are getting crazy, a couple of my coworkers have my cell number and will text me there. I leave my phone at home during vacations. :-)

    I spent many years working as a consultant, and absolutely killing myself to keep up on projects/stay billable and profitable for my company. Working too much/too hard affected my mental and physical health and my relationships. At the end of the day I never got any kind of acknowledgement about how hard I was working, and was continually passed over for raises/promotions.

    My current supervisor is really great about work/life balance and personal time, both for us and herself. I will never accept less again.

  116. BridgeNerdess*

    – Civil Engineering
    – Senior Project Engineer
    – mid-level
    – typically 40-45, but our work is all project specific, so it could be 50-60 around deadlines
    – I’m not expected to answer calls or emails 24/7. I have 2 little kids, so I prefer to work overtime in the mornings or on weekends to accommodate our family/school schedule. I’ve never stayed much past 6pm, but I’ve been in the office before 6 am on many occasions. The flexible schedule is a huge perk to me.

    I’ve noticed the higher up you go, the more “on-call” you are expected to be. I do not get paid at that level, so I only check work email at work. Not everyone does this, and there are plenty of entry-level engineers that have work email on their phone. I would say this is a personal decision at the mid- and entry-levels and I have not seen that being constantly available helps you to advance any faster. I think setting clear and consistent personal boundaries has been beneficial. At some point, I will have to have email on my phone and be available 24/7, but I’m not rushing that day.

  117. Jigglypuff*

    Field: Librarianship
    Job: Children’s Librarian
    Level: Mid level
    Hours: 50+

    Plugged in: 24/7 I am expected to answer the phone with questions from staff or from the library director anytime and have been asked to come in on days off to cover other people’s lunches, etc., even though I have an hour commute. Also, I have to work on professional development outside of work: reading literature for a variety of age levels, taking webinars and classes, attending workshops, prepping for presentations, etc. etc.

    Other context: That job was in a very very toxic library and I wouldn’t recommend working that way. I eventually left that position and am in a place with a much better balance now.

  118. Turquoisecow*

    I’m a data analyst for the corporate office of a retail store. I work part-time now but in my previous job at a similar company I was full time. In both places I guess you’d say I was a step above entry level as I’ve been in the industry for more than ten years now so I know a few things a new hire wouldn’t.

    My full-time job the state’s hours were 37.5, but I was explicitly told to try to come in early and stay late or I looked like a slacker, so it was probably closer to 40. Some times I was busy and maybe reached 45, but not usually over that.

    When I first started the job, evenings and weekends weren’t a concern but later as smartphones became a thing and I had access to my work email remotely, I felt obligated to check in occasionally. Sometimes I had to answer a question if an emergency was going down, but I rarely did work off hours. Right now I work part-time and my hours are flexible (I put in no more than 24 hours a week and they don’t care when) but the people I work with do adhere to a full time schedule, so I have work emails pop up on my phone because sometimes I won’t plan on working for another few hours or I’m done for the day, but someone has a question I should answer quickly.

    My husband is way more senior than me. He works at a tech startup he helped to found, in charge of networking. He used to also manage operations, but that has mostly been handed off. He works probably closer to 50-60 hours a week, with occasional emergencies popping up on evenings or weekends. When he managed operations he also had to oversee overnight maintenance.

    As the company has grown, however, he’s been able to step away more. They hired two competent people to work for him, and he no longer manages operations, which is full of constant emergencies like servers going down in the middle of the night or maintenance at midnight. Since they have international clients, he sometimes has to be on calls to Asia in the middle of the night.

    He does have a bit of flexibility, though. He works from home 3-4 days a week and is able to juggle things around to take off in the middle of the day to go to appointments and such, and when he’s working from home we often have lunch together.

  119. KR*

    Renewable energy
    Procurement/AP/general admin
    Not entry level but I wouldn’t say I’m mid-level (Imposter syndrome? Who knows!)
    40-45 avg, sometimes 50 with travel
    Generally expected to be available via text for emergency work on weekends/holidays but if I wasn’t it wouldn’t be a big deal as I’m hourly and not paid to be available all the time.

  120. Anon for this*

    Legal—Public Interest (nonprofits, briefly government, now the academy)
    Asst. Clinical Law Prof [Mid-level in practice, “junior” (i.e. pre-tenure) in the academy]
    50-80/week, and hours were the same when I was 100% in practice
    Expectation of being available on work nights and when traveling, responsive on weekends, but able to mostly unplug during vacations as long as someone can reach me by phone or email if there’s a “case emergency.”

    Being a public interest lawyer means working as much as BigLaw without as much support and at a much lower salary. I don’t have to meet billable hour targets, but the workload is more than one person can accomplish in normal hours, and there’s not always coverage. Now that I also have to publish, it’s a little overwhelming. I work after hours and from home a lot.

    I have greater flexibility in terms of on-call expectations, and I am aggressively protective of my weekends. As I become more senior, I have more control over my time.

  121. Anon for this*

    Ed Tech
    Trust and Safety
    I am always on-call and frequently have to work nights and weekends. To be fair, we’re trying (among other things) to intervene in suicide situations, so it’s not like I’m being interrupted to find out which widget we’re running low on. I do plan cruise vacations and tell people that I will not be paying for internet access so I can work. However, if it’s a regular day off, I’m handling multiple issues. I’m just not doing it from the office.

  122. Editor*

    B2B publishing
    Managing editor
    40-50 hours/week (when not traveling)
    It’s not required, but I do check my emails on weekends for general inbox maintenance, but also any breaking news in my industry. I don’t reply to things unless something urgent happens. Checking email is definitely not expected on vacation.
    I do travel for 4-5 days at a time at least once a month (often with a full weekend included [like Thursday-Tuesday or Saturday-Wednesday]) so then I’m obviously on the clock longer. For me, time disappears when I’m traveling for work as I end up spending my days doing conference/event/client stuff and then evenings catching up on actual work. Magazine production doesn’t stop just because you’re not in the office.

  123. Forestdweller*

    Human Resources- tier 1 automotive supplier (manufacturing)
    HR Manager
    I’d call my position mid-level: my organization has about 1,000 employees employed in 4 different locations. I manage 2 locations and report to the Director of HR.
    45-55 hours per week on average
    I am expected to be available nights/weekend- I typically field 1-2 calls after 12am per week. On vacations, people in my position have historically been expected to be plugged in, but I travel to fairly remote locations and established early on that I would be unreachable. So far, that hasn’t been an issue.

  124. SM*

    –Academic librarian
    –Librarianship, Academia
    –I’m the Head of a small department
    –I would consider this mid-level
    –My workweek is 37.5 hours. I might work something closer to 40-45.
    –Not very. I check email, and I respond if it looks pressing.
    –I do have a family. My spouse is a programmer, also a mid-level manager, and makes a lot more than me. I think he works between 50-60 every week, and he does and is expected to be available on evenings and weekends and vacations.

  125. Anon for this*

    Field: Nonprofit fitness
    Job title: Department Director, lower to mid-level (I have 12 years’ experience, but there are people in my role with as few as 1 and as many as 40, pay is fairly flat for experience. I supervise up to 30 people.)
    Expected in-office hours: 40
    On-call hours: 130
    If the facility is open, department directors are on call. The facility is open 5 am – 10 pm on weekdays and 7 am – 7 pm on weekends. We are open most holidays except Christmas Day and sometimes Easter. If a shift is uncovered, someone calls out sick, or there is an emergency, you are expected to come in immediately to handle it yourself. This means you should expect urgent phone calls/texts/emails from 4 am to 11:30 pm, including weekends and holidays. There are often trainings and special programs in the evening, weekends, and on holidays. In theory there is room for you to take flex time to compensate, but in practice this is impossible to do.
    Pay: $32,000 USD/year

    Context: I’m leaving this field for good ASAP. I can’t take it any more.

    1. Anon for this*

      ETA: A typical week will have you working 50-60 hours and you’ll need to be available during vacation. If you are not available during vacation, Something Bad Will Happen and you’ll be handed the mess when you return and also guilt-tripped for taking time off. It’s easier to stay in touch so you can contain the fire before it spreads, than it is to clean up the ashes when you get back.

  126. First time commenting!*

    –Executive Director
    –Senior, but low level for the field (i.e., a small nonprofit, 5 employees)
    –40-45 hours/week,
    –The occasional work email /phone call/text on time that was planned as “off.” 1-2 after hours meetings/week, for which I take flex time.
    — I used to consistently work 50-60 hours/week and barely take time off. But, a little over year ago, I unexpectedly had 3 kids placed with me in foster care, and all of a sudden that became completely untenable. So, I stopped. Now it’s 40, maybe 45 on a rough week, I take all my PTO, and I ignore most “urgent” weekend calls/emails/whatever. The change was necessitated by my personal life, but as it turns out, the building is still standing and the organization is thriving. Sometimes people are annoyed or disappointed with me. Oh well! The expectations for me didn’t change, but my willingness to disappoint people’s expectations sure did. It left me with a strong sense that at this level, I really am the one in charge of my schedule, and I can trade my whole family life for making sure I have a reputation as On Top of Everything, or I can let people think I’m unresponsive/flaky, still do great work in a reasonable amount of time, and be confident that over the long term, my work will cancel out whatever negative impression I’m leaving.

  127. Miss May*

    Field: Manufacturing
    Job: Laboratory Tech
    Level: Not really entry, not really mid level? Somewhere in-between.
    Hours: ~45
    Plugged in: Since I’m not a manager, barely at all. I have my work email tied to my phone, but that’s because I like to see what emails come in, but I’m not required to respond. Occasionally I’ll have to go in on weekends (maybe twice a year) to help with down instrumentation, but thats when the manager is on vacation.

  128. Research for days*

    –Public policy research at a large think tank
    –Senior Research Associate
    —Mid-level, but the vast majority of my company is employed at the mid-level range. You have 50 people at the top, 50 people at entry level, and 900 people in the middle.
    –I work Monday-Friday 8:30am(ish) to 4pm. I handle daycare pickup, so I need time to commute to the daycare, pick up the baby, and still get home at a reasonable time. My manager has been absolutely amazing as I transition to being back at work. Before having the baby I worked a standard 9am to 5pm. I do keep email on my phone and I check it throughout the evening and on weekends. We’re in our quiet time right now, but I anticipate needing to do some work at home in the evenings when things are busier. I’m absolutely fine with this.

  129. Paper Jam*

    Field: Finance (Multi-family office)
    Title: Data Operations Director
    Level: Mid/Senior? (I’m pretty high up in my company and head of my department, but I’m only in my late twenties with about 6 years professional experience).
    Hours: 40-45 hours a week
    Outside of work: Our company pays for our cell phone service, with the expectation that we will respond to emails on nights/weekends. I’ve been here a year and it’s been a non-issue, but my role is not client-facing.

    FYI – I was a manager previously in a similar role, and I was putting in 80 hour weeks, constantly plugged in, and making significantly less money. Just because it might be expected in one job environment doesn’t mean that’s the case everywhere, even in the same industry. At the same time, I don’t think I would have been promoted as quickly or as often as I was without working hard and being good at what I did, and sometimes that meant putting in extra hours to meet a deadline or help a colleague meet a deadline.

  130. Yes Anastasia*

    -Public sector librarian
    -6 years of experience
    -37.5 or 40 hours a week
    -I work some evenings or weekends, but I never work overtime. At previous jobs I’ve gotten formal comp time when I did work more than 40 hours (this is a public sector thing.) I’m starting a new job where there’s less of an expectation of core hours being 8:30 through 5, but I still don’t expect to go above 40 hours.
    -For the most part, no one ever contacts me about anything outside work.

  131. cactus lady*

    Field: Higher Education
    Title: Senior Manager
    Level: Senior
    Hours: 40ish
    Evenings/Weekends: Occasionally I will need to respond to an after-hours email. I also have some programs that require me to arrive early and/or stay late, which I know well ahead of time. I will occasionally go to networking events in the evenings, which are encouraged but not mandatory. My boss does not let me leave early when I arrive early, or come in late if I have to stay late, but that is very specific to my boss personally and has not been my experience in other roles with other managers (in salaried positions). When I was a mid-level hourly employee, I was not allowed to work outside of my set hours, or have my email on my home or any personal devices. Higher ed is a good field for work/life balance, though the salary is lower than similar positions in the private sector.

    1. Catsaber*

      I’m just curious about your boss’ rationale for not letting you leave early/late if you come in early/late. I had a boss like that and we all knew the real reason was for appearances (just “in case” a VP or the president decided to drop in for a surprise visit, god forbid the staff level wasn’t 100%).

      1. cactus lady*

        I don’t quite understand it myself – he says “that’s part of being salaried” whenever I ask about it. (This is not my first salaried position and the only one I’ve been in that has this expectation.) But he is also one of those people who never takes vacations and regularly is at the office 10-11 hours a day even during our slow times. The other senior managers who report to different people aren’t expected to do this, but when I’ve tried to push back it doesn’t go well.

  132. Aims*

    – Government (Canada)
    – Communications Manager
    – Mid-level
    – 40-50
    – Plugged In
    – Mandatory to be checking email, social media, and news alerts daily for any breaking controversy that needs immediate response. Also somewhat regularly (every 2-3 weeks) must attend evening events and Council-type meetings which can go until 10pm. I really enjoy what I do, so while it IS hard work, it isn’t something I resent.

  133. Librarian*

    Your field: government IT (US)
    Your job: project manager
    Level: Mid-level
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Totally unplugged
    Additional context: If it’s super busy at work, I’ll put a couple extra hours in a week but usually no more than 5 or 6 — I’ll either take comp time for the extra hours or leave early on Friday. I do have a project tied to the US Congress budget cycle/activities where I have to work to midnight to support the work in 48-hr increments per stage of the budget cycle so 6 times a year, I’ll have 60-hr weeks (my TOD starts at 0630). We get comp time for that and I use it for extra vacation time. (real quick about my level – By my time in service (8.5 yrs) and by my GS level, I’m mid-career but by age, I’m still early career)

  134. Admissions counselor*

    Higher education

    Admissions counselor

    Entry-level (been in role for 3.5 years and promoted to team lead)

    40 hours each week, up to 55 or 60 during busy seasons (one hour for lunch but it’s not guaranteed or legally required). Nights and weekends are expected and required since many college fairs and college-going events happen on nights and weekends. Sundays are extremely uncommon but do happen occasionally.

    Supervisors dictate how plugged-in you should be. My previous boss worked 24/7 and expected her reports to do the same. My current boss expects you to NOT work on your time off!

    I’m not micromanaged. Ultimately the work simply needs to get done. On days when I have a huge backlog of emails, I may respond to emails after 5:00 when I’m home on my couch with a glass of wine. This is rare. I never come to the office on weekends.

  135. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Your field: Manufacturing/Construction
    Your job: accounting/HR/office & business Management
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Senior
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40-45
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Rarely [now], only if it’s something big and nobody can find something figure it out but it depends on the company. Previously a whole lot because of lack of staff and lack of others with authority and that place was awful, more below.

    Any other context you want to add

    This has been pretty standard throughout my career, I had one job that was up to 60 hours a week and it was a tire-fire unsustainable mess with awful senior leadership aka ownership. That was when I was doing the job of 3 people [accounting, bsns management, managing and working within the shipping department and customer service]. So that’s awful and not the norm.

    It’s small, so there’s rarely any weekends for anyone and all the standard holidays.

  136. Natatat*

    -Education (Administrative side)
    -Scholarships administration at a university
    -35 hrs/week
    -Not expected to work outside of normal hours except in very rare circumstances (and even then very limited amounts)
    -This is in Canada, so I don’t know if it is directly applicable to other countries. My sense of working in Education is that because there is such a big union segment of the workforce at my university, those values of work/life balance (union are not supposed to work overtime) trickles over to more senior positions. Even the Assistant Deans don’t seem to work overtime. Exception is my manager who does work on vacation and weekends sometimes, but by personal choice rather than requirement.

    1. Natatat*

      Hmmm, looking at other responses I may have mis-classified myself as mid-level? I don’t supervise anyone except as coverage for my manager. My job classification is “management” but that’s just an umbrella term for alot of jobs that fit under that umbrella at my university. I wouldn’t call myself entry level though given that I’ve been in the field for almost 10 years and my responsibilities wouldn’t fit “entry level”. Maybe high entry level or low mid-level?

  137. Anon for this*

    Field- Global NGO
    Job- Fundraising/Development
    Level- Senior
    Hours- varies wildly. 40-45 on the rare quiet week. 50-60 when things are really busy. 12-14 hrs days are normal when traveling.
    How plugged in? I need to be fairly available on evenings/weekends when we’re under deadline or if a donor reached out. Vacations are unplugged. I do have standing weekly calls on Tuesday nights with staff in other parts of the world.

  138. Jason*

    Your field: Automotive Aftermarket
    Your job: Sales Manager
    Level: Mid-Level
    Hours per week: I’d say I average between 40-45 hours per week

    For the most part I’m able to unplug during off hours. I do have some customers in Europe/Asia/Australia, so I will sometimes talk to them during off hours, so we can actually talk on the phone. But there are other international customers who I handle via just e-mail during regular hours.

    For Vacation Time, if I’m just using vacation time for some errands or to use up extra days, I’ll keep an eye on my e-mail for anything super critical. Is it absolutely necessary? No, but it means I might have one less fire to put out when I’m back in the office. And it probably only takes about 15 -30 minutes out of my day.

    But if I’m on a real vacation, for example going somewhere tropical, I completely unplug. If there is something extremely urgent my boss will step in and take care of it.

  139. Vienetta*

    Field: Higher Ed/Academia/Libraries
    Role: Archivist
    Level: Mid-Level
    Hours: Roughly 40 hours a week. I have to prep and teach, and write research articles, along with my regular responsibilities, but my schedule builds that in such that I don’t have to do a lot on my own time if I don’t want to. No expectation to be plugged in when I’m off work- it’s all optional, most of the time.

  140. JokeyJules*

    Admin (Environmental Consulting)
    Dept Coordinator
    I’m not sure. I made up my job, and am the only person to ever do it. I guess it would be a mid-level position?
    ~40, this is fluid because I am supposed to keep an eye on my emails until 8pm and be available for any issues that pop up, but sometimes nothing comes up.
    Late evenings, weekends, and vacations are untouchable territory unless there is an extreme emergency.
    My work schedule varies wildly from my coworkers. Some shut their computers off at 5 and don’t think about work until 9am the next business day, others work into the evenings and on weekends to get projects out before deadlines. It very much varies on the type of work and company culture.

  141. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    Non-profit Higher Education

    Graphic Designer

    Senior Designer and although I’m only 3 layers below the university president in my reporting line, as far as the whole university hierarchy I guess I’m lower mid-level. Universities have convoluted hierarchies depending on if you’re on the academic side or administration side.

    40 hours officially but I’m salary so I really don’t track hours. Most days I’m here about 30 min. early depending on traffic but I always leave on time. I don’t need to track lunches or breaks either so some days I’m eating at my desk while working and others I can take a 2-hour lunch and no one cares. Our workload is very seasonal so we can have a month with nothing to do, and months where we can’t hardly catch our breath.

    I wouldn’t say it’s officially expected, but everyone in the department checks our emails once a day on vacation and our boss checks in with us frequently when he’s on vacation. This seems to be the norm across campus… well, actually I’d say it’s a bell curve, lowest level hourly positions aren’t expected to do this, and the highest levels like Dean’s, VPs and Pres seem to be able to take vacations completely uninterrupted unless there’s a catastrophe.

    I’m also expected to “volunteer” to staff university events — graduation ceremonies, welcome week events, fundraising dinners, community outreach events…as I’ve gotten more seniority I’ve been able to “volunteer” less or have better choices of what I volunteer for, but my boss encourages us to be involved so we are “seen” by the top administration. As my user name implies, while our work has high visibility no one across campus ever seems to know who actually does it and who we are.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I forgot to include professional development… we have a strong culture and mission to be life-long learners and the university strongly encourages us to continue education to a terminal degree level and/or get certifications in order to advance. Almost all of my yearly goals are things like attending a seminar or class in my field or a related field if it expands the scope of my skills. The university is great at paying for or reimbursing all costs for tuition/seminars/CE classes/certifications.

  142. Nbrevu*

    * Software
    * Software developer
    * Mid-level; my title is senior but compared to other industries, not really (~10 years of experience).
    *40 hours/week
    * No expectation of work outside office hours. Some workaholics from my office aren’t able to disconnect, but for the most part, I can still joke that “I’m unemployed from 16:00 to 8:00” because it’s on point.
    * Some context: work/life balance is one of the main perks from our job site, and it consistently gets the top score of satisfaction when there is a corporate survey. Unfortunately it’s not like that in other parts of the industry, and I’ve heard (and sometimes suffered in first person) some horror stories about looong hours and absence of weekends. Also for context: this is not the US, but Spain (the company is multinational and operates all over the world, but I don’t think my conditions are universal).

  143. Book Publicist*

    – Book Publishing
    – Publicity
    – Mid-to-Senior (about a decade of experience, but director level)

    I spend about 45 hours per week in the office. I’m very deliberate about not being in the office (much) longer than that, because like the OP I believe in the importance of work-life balance, and also because I want to model healthy behaviors for junior employees. That said, I do sometimes spend 10+ hours a week working at home, particularly at busy times of year. This is not driven by anyone’s expectations but by my own desire to do my job well.

    Similarly, I’m not generally expected to be plugged in on evenings/weekends/vacation… but I often am anyway, to be sure things are going smoothly and nothing urgent has come up. It’s a bad habit, but I do find it reassuring to check my email once a day on vacation and see that nothing’s on fire.

    There are also times when I’m on call 24/7, such as when an author is traveling and might have to deal with, say, a canceled flight or an incorrect hotel reservation. There are also evening and weekend events. But these are exceptions more than the rule, and I always know about them in advance and can prepare.

  144. Kim*

    IT in a mid size high tech manufacturing company
    Business Applications Manager
    mid-level manager
    40 hours per week
    Somewhat plugged in all the time. Mainly to be on the lookout for emergencies. I read email headers on my off time but only respond for emergencies.
    It’s extremely unusual that I work 40 hours (or less!) in my field. Work life balance is very important to me which is why I have stayed in this job 20 years. I would make more money somewhere else but I make enough and enjoy my job so that’s a trade off I chose.

  145. Susan the BA*

    University IT
    Senior functional analyst (highest non-managerial title in my org)
    37.5 hours, which is how we’re scheduled
    Extra evening and weekend hours a few times a year, usually scheduled well in advance (like we’re doing a planned upgrade on a Saturday)
    No problems with taking sick time or vacation and no expectation that you’ll be on call outside of hours. I’m expected to hand things off if I know I’ll be out (like ‘I’m waiting for this patch, if you have time can you please test it if it comes in next week’) but generally we just know work will slow down and that’s okay. People take 1-2 weeks vacation regularly or multiple days in a row if they’re sick (or kids are sick) and no one judges them.

  146. Happy Pineapple*

    Senior Administrator
    Despite the title, mid-level
    Depends on who I’m supporting and the urgency of the project. My executives don’t necessarily expect me to work their hours, but they’re frequently sending me notes until midnight or later. Typically people are still checking and answering emails after business hours and on holidays/weekends, but on vacation we completely unplug.

  147. Bees Knees*

    TV Production:
    Production Assistant:
    Entry Level
    Age: Mid 20s
    50-70 hours a week.

    This is a terrible industry for work life balance as much as I love it. But I spend 11-14 hours a day at work and it’s a wildly varying schedule, and it’s not just for assistants. Pretty much anyone who works on set or in the production office is working insane hours. Weekends however are usually completely mine and if I do any work at all I get paid for a sixth day which is a decent chunk a change. Week days when I’m not at work (sometimes evenings , sometimes mornings depending on the schedule), there is a bit of an assumption I’ll be available by text, but usually its fairly simple things like “where did you put the stapler?” or “can you stop by the grocery store on your way in?” and if it takes me an hour or two to answer so be it. Because it’s a highly unionized industry, even though I’m not in the union, it’s definitely a job where every second I’ve worked is a second I get paid for. Although I’ve had friends with the same job who were expected to be more available and were expected to round down their time card, it’s very boss dependent.

  148. Mona Lisa Vito*

    Senior HR Manager
    50 hrs/wk
    Definitely expected to be plugged in – weekend calls are rare but weekend emails are frequent

    I wonder if this varies by location (I am in NYC)? I previously worked in Finance for several years and probably averaged 65-70 hrs/week with a solid amount of weekend work (in-office and via phone). I feel like most of my friends here in NYC are in the same boat!

  149. ForTheLoveOfSpreadsheets*

    State Public Health
    Mid-level – I supervise staff and budgets
    37.5 hours per week/ occasional extra hour or two to finish a priority
    Not at all plugged in, if something happens someone will get in contact. People above me generally do email at night and a bit on the weekends, but they are mostly unplugged unless there is an emergency (which is frequently). They take normal vacations and do things like go to all of their kids school events during the day etc. FWIW I’ve never had any leave request denied and I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for being unavailable. Government for the win!

  150. Anonym*

    Program Manager, cross-functional (operations, public affairs, HR – not on the business or technology side, which may differ significantly)
    Mid-Level (VP/SVP, not a people manager)
    40-50 hrs/week
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: not very! I rarely check work email outside of business hours (partly to manage stress, but it’s also not expected). My team has a group text to reach each other outside of business hours if needed, but that’s used more often for funny kid pics and warnings that one of us is running late than actual work questions, and I think my boss has contacted me twice on vacation in 5 years, both for legit emergencies no one else could address. Boss is very into work life balance, though, so all this could change if I end up working for someone with different expectations. However, my company seems to value it more than other big finance firms.
    I suspect who you work for makes a lot of difference on this front, as it does for so many things. There’s company culture and then there’s team culture. Managers have a lot of influence here. And the work itself may dictate expected hours to a degree. We don’t have too many emergencies in my team, and most of our initiatives are identified and driven by us, so we don’t have senior managers pounding down the door about deliverables very often.

    1. Anonym*

      Realize I should have added that I’ve been promoted 2x in 5 years and am flagged as a high performer and nominated for leadership dev programs, so not working long hours is definitely not holding me back as far as I can tell!

  151. Que Syrah Syrah*

    -Wine Industry
    -Sales Rep for a large wine distribution company
    -40ish average, but upwards of 50+ during busy/peak seasons. Some early mornings required, the very occasional evening. I don’t have a set schedule; I manage my own hours.
    -I am expected to be plugged in, but Boss is reasonable and would never get annoyed if it took you a bit to respond. She’s also VERY strict about NEVER bothering us when we’re on vacation/PTO. Having happy reps who aren’t stressed and anxious is very important to her. It’s sales, but she doesn’t see that as a reason to not have reasonable work/life balance.

  152. Tuppence*

    Field – nonprofit
    HR Business Partner
    Mid-senior level (the level below SMT in a small-medium size organisation)
    I very (very) rarely work substantially over my contracted hours (I don’t tend to take a full hour’s lunch, and I maybe stay half an hour late on occasion if I’m in flow on a document/project, but otherwise my manager has zero expectation that I will work beyond my 5:30 finish time, and definitely not at weekends or while on leave).

    One crucial piece of context is that I am not US based – I work in the UK. None of my roles in UK nonprofit have carried the slightest expectation (spoken or unspoken) of being plugged in at weekends or vacations, and very little expectation of staying late in the evenings. It’s the major payoff of lower wages than private sector, and one of the reasons I stick with nonprofit – I value my work/life balance!

  153. fromscratch*

    SaaS technology
    Client Success Manager
    Mid level (10 years into my career)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 45 – 55
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation:
    Vacation I’ve been able to completely unplug. Most weekends as well. Nights, I typically am expected to respond to email, slack, and texts. I’m also expected to have checked my email prior to coming into the office in the morning.
    My team has been under-staffed since I started this job and we just hired a bunch of new people. Once they are fully up to speed hopefully my average hours will drop back to a more reasonable number. I’ve also been tasked with overhauling our team processes and materials and most of that work happens in the evenings when I’ve completed customer responsibilities

    1. fromscratch*

      Should also note that I travel about one week every 6 and those weeks are more like 55+ hour work weeks as I am on-site with customers for 8 or 9 hours a day and then catching up on other work in the evenings.

  154. Crivens!*

    My field: Higher education, but I’m on the admin staff side of things
    My job: I administer a transportation program for students called U-Pass
    I’m mid-level
    I work an average of 40 hours a week, and time is pretty flexible.
    I am expected to be pretty plugged in on evenings and weekends: I always check email in the evenings and on the weekends at least once and will frequently reply to an email during that time. But this isn’t because it’s expected so much as because right now I’m the only person who can cover this and sometimes issues are urgent. As we get more cross-training I’ll be more able to step away during evenings/weekends/vacations.

  155. Kowalski! Options*

    Field: Corporate Learning (Government)
    Your job: Learning Advisor (mid-level)
    Avg # hrs/week: 35-38. Not required to work off the clock. Those more senior to me do work nights and weekends, but there’s no expectation to do so at my level. In my shop. doing extra hours might be required for last-minute requests and sudden emergencies, but those are few and far between.

  156. Tinker*

    Software development (for a large telecom company)
    QA Engineer
    Higher end of mid-level / probably should be pushing for senior-level responsibilities
    Actual work for my employer — around 40 hours. Not sure how to rate professional or personal development things that have bearing on work; at the moment I do less studying of specifically tech subjects than I ought, but nonetheless some.
    At least around me, there is an expectation not to be plugged in on evenings and weekends or to be particularly contactable during vacation; I’ve told my coworkers on occasion that I’m often available to answer quick questions when I’m out and I keep Slack on my phone, but they still do not do this.

    Some of this may be affected by that, while I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m not ambitious, my ambitions do not necessarily strongly align with being of the high-flyer strata within my current company — those folks live a somewhat different life than I do, and while I think the prioritization of work-life balance is still a feature for them, it may well be a lot more squishy for them than it is for me.

  157. JustMyImagination*

    Quality Manager
    40-45 hours/week when I’m in the office. I travel about once a month and that week gets closer to 60 hours.
    I’m not expected to be available nights/weekends.

  158. librarian*

    –Academic library at a liberal arts university
    –Systems librarian
    –Librarians are all on the same level, except for the director above us and staff below us.
    –Exactly 40 (on campus 42.5 hours per week to account for lunch) but we can flex week to week if necessary (work a few extra hours one week to work a few less the next)
    –Most semesters we each work one evening per week and a couple Saturdays. Aside from that, there’s no real expectation to be plugged in but many librarians are. I try to not check email when I’m not at work, including on vacation, and it’s very life giving. I make exceptions when I am expecting something. Since I manage our library system and our databases, I have shared with my team that I prefer to be contacted by text/phone if some technology emergency happens (a few times per year). Within the past year there has been more conversations about the fact that librarians are salaried and therefore may need to work beyond the minimum hours at times but so far no expectations have really been set, thankfully.

  159. Cass*

    Human Resources
    Compensation Analyst
    Mid-level (not quite subject matter expert but working my way there)
    40-42 hours per week
    Not expected to be plugged in at all when not at work

    I work in higher education and our work volume rises and falls with the academic calendar. I’m not expected to be available outside normal business hours but I have no problem working late as needed. At this time I have no aspirations of being a manager or director, but would love to carve out a path as an SME / high level individual contributor, but I’d gladly plateau in my career if it meant maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

  160. Eeyore's missing tail*

    -Higher Ed
    -Somewhere between entry and midlevel
    -40 (I’m still non-exempt and my institution is a stickler about that)
    -I’m expected to be on from 8-5. I can stay late if needed, but at most it’s been 30 minutes. I will answer emergency texts from my boss whenever needed, but he also knows when it’s an emergency and when it isn’t.

    Notes: In my area, the entry to mid level is 40 hours max. Even those who are exempt follow that rule. We aren’t approved for overtime, so once we non-exempt folks hit 40, we’re done. My directors (mid-level) usually answer emails while on vacation and occasionally in the evenings. They’ll also do events or travel, which adds time. One of my directors that I look up to normally answers emails late in the evening, after her children have gone to bed. The assistant dean, associate dean, and dean all work around the clock.

  161. Not Maeby but Surely*

    Title Insurance
    Commercial Title Examiner
    Mid-level (senior-level experience, non-management role)
    40 hours, salaried/exempt, with the expectation to pitch in extra hours if needed during busy times or large projects (happens rarely, 2-3x per year max.)
    Not expected to be available by phone/email after hours or on weekends.*
    *It does seem to be expected that managers are available after hours but in practice it doesn’t happen often that after-hours responses are necessary. In fact, over the last few years there has been a significant drop in correspondence from managers outside of business hours. Big win for work-life balance!

  162. londonedit*

    Your field: book publishing, UK
    Your job: Editor
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: I guess I’d say mid-level. I have 16 years’ industry experience but by choice I climbed a few rungs back down the ladder a few years ago (because I wanted to focus on actual editorial work and not get sucked into the management/budgeting/strategy that comes with being higher up)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 37.5
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not at all, really. Occasionally if we’re up against a deadline, or I’m going on holiday and I need to get things sent to a copy-editor/typesetter/approved for press before I go, I’ll end up staying late a couple of evenings. I also sometimes have events like book launches or book fairs to attend. I can be contacted in an emergency, but I’m not expected to have my work email on my phone or to do any work in the evenings/at weekends/if I’m on holiday.
    Any other context you want to add: I really don’t earn much at all. Certainly not enough to support any children! But that’s the choice I made – I value having a less stressful job and doing the work I enjoy and am good at rather than climbing the corporate ladder and earning more money (been there, tried that, burned out).

  163. PianoKeys*

    Education, Family Benefits Provider
    Mid-level ind. contributor
    ~45 hrs
    Rarely expected to respond to emails on evening and weekends, no expectation to do so on vacation. I do need to add evening hours to keep up with my workload, so I’m visibly active in off hours, though am in the minority. I am expected to keep an eye on emails for urgency – so passively plugged in, I’d say.

    This meets the needs of the position but if I wanted to rapidly advance, the hours would need to go up.

  164. Dean of Various and Sundry Paperwork*

    Higher Education
    Librarian / Dean of Online Learning (for the University, not just the library)
    Mid-level in the Library, Senior in the Online Learning area
    Hours depends on the time of year. 40 during “regular” and slower times, 50+ during the first and last week of each semester, and when I am running training sessions (which can be online, or in person).
    Fairly plugged in. I’m basically a one-woman band, with one assistant and a few student employees. (We’re a small university – about 2,000 students). The assistant is hourly, and so we have to not go crazy with overtime (not because we don’t believe in it but because the university expects us to be good stewards of funds and not expect hourly employees to work ridiculous hours). I am lucky in that my assistant is amazing, but I do still usually check email at least once a day when I’m out. The good news is that there are very few things that are life and death in this job – the two things that usually keep me checking in each day are: a) if a student is having technical issues and can’t access an online course, and they accidentally get administratively withdrawn – this can cause financial aid eligibility problems, and I never want to put a student in that position. b) student is having some kind of crisis that faculty member can’t solve and needs assistance – this usually involves looping in the dean of students and then making sure the communication channel with the faculty member stays open.

  165. Pravda*

    -Environmental consulting – Northeast US
    -Entry/mid level (fieldwork/reporting, but some project management)
    -Usually 35-40 hr/wk during the off season, can be anywhere from 35-60 during the summer, including travel – reporting deadlines or emergencies are the exception here. Expected to be on-site or bum in seat for as long as needed to meet project deadlines/milestones – sounds a lot worse than it is.
    -May be needed to cover off-hours/weekend work, this is usually planned ahead of time and made as painless as possible. Vacation time is unplugged, with the exception of the occasional email with details of upcoming projects. Not expected to be in contact all the time, but I do keep work email on my phone and check when I know a big project/fieldwork deadline is upon us.

    nb – because I’ve taken on/been assigned more reporting-related work, I usually have less hours/reimbursable expenses than my peers who are in the field more often. Office culture is BIG on work-life balance, many people ski/bike/socialize together after work or on OOO days.

    1. Anon. Scientist*

      I’ll add to this one. I’m in the same industry, but a senior scientist. I’m at the highest individual contributor level (by choice, I used to manage projects) so let’s say senior level.

      At my level, the buck stops with me, so I do work more than 40 hours when needed. I’m normally 40, but go up to 55ish on occasion. When I was doing fieldwork, that often went to 60+. There are no expectations that I respond after work hours or on the weekend, but I usually keep an eye on things. Vacation time is pens down, but if there’s some crisis and I’m the only SME, I will get a very short and apologetic phone call.

      I will say that starting out in this industry, you can definitely be picky (minimal fieldwork, jockey for local jobs), but it will have a negative effect on future advancement. Same thing with certifications and advanced degrees – you can get by without any of it, and can work to get some/all covered by the company, but it will limit future options, sometimes drastically.

  166. Not Sayin'*

    a Government-related industry
    Human Resources
    Management level
    40 hours per week
    I need to be reachable, but I’m not often reached out to
    When I worked for high tech, especially start-ups, overtime was expected, and I worked a LOT of hours. Now I’m in the government sector, and many of my co-managers do work long hours. But I’m winding down my career, and balance is becoming more important. I would work more hours if required to do my job, but not to further my career.

  167. Cyrus*

    * Government contractor
    * Technical writer
    * Mid-level, I guess? I don’t supervise anyone, but I’ve been in this industry for, wow, 10 years now and it’s been almost a year since I’ve worked with someone with more experience than me in this field
    * 40 hours a week
    * Not plugged in at all on evenings, weekends, and on vacation unless something goes wrong, like someone missed an important deadline. Once or twice a month I’ll log in for 20-30 minutes from home if I’m behind on a task or want to do something quickly before I forget, but I’m not EXPECTED to. Same for my supervisor and his supervisor, as far as I can tell.
    * We work from home one day a week by default and more than that occasionally. On WFH day I’ll log in and be available for longer than 8 hours, but realistically, often not be working for every single minute of that time.

  168. anon42*

    Field: Automotive Manufacturing
    Job: Production Manager
    Level: Middle management
    Hours per week: 50-72hrs
    How plugged in: As long as the plant is open I need to be some level of available. If for some reason I would be unavailable (ex: during my brother’s wedding day I did not have my phone on me) I need to communicate that to the team and what steps they need to take.
    Comments: There is some wiggle room depending on how things are running. I’ve been in this role and been able to take 2.5 weeks off work without getting a phone call or checking email. And I’ve had times when I take one vacation day to spend 2 hours on the computer and multiple calls. The difference is that the plant was running very smoothly and I had a strong team.

    Manufacturing, especially on the production/maintenance side still has a strong culture of you work long hours or you’re not a candidate for a new role. There’s movement towards changing that but it’s certainly not moving fast.

    1. Manufacturing Engineer*

      I agree with your take on manufacturing – in general the culture I’ve observed, particularly in Food & Beverage, is that if you don’t care more about the line running than your health / sleep / family / vacation / life…. you don’t care enough to have the job.

  169. Cascadia*

    Field: k-12 education (specifically middle and high school)
    job: program coordinator
    hours: average 40 per week. When I’m ramping up for a program, I may work more like 50-60 for a week or two, generally not more than that. I can then take more time off after my program is finished.
    plugged-in: I do not do email after hours or on weekends or vacation, generally. When I have programs happening, I am on my email and accessible every day, including weekends, often 24-hours a day. (I am in a position where I can be on-call for trips that are happening, therefore the calls could feasibly come at any time.) But when there is no program happening, then I am pretty good about sticking to work hours only.
    My job really fluctuates a lot between busy periods and low periods. These are predictable, knowable things based on when we run our programs. The ramp up to a program is always busy, and while it is running, and when a program is not running it’s pretty low-stress. The people at my school who are in the highest roles are pretty available, but since we work at a school, many people find a good amount of time to take vacation, especially during school breaks. Some of the highest-up jobs just require a lot of hours/evening and weekends due to events, etc.

  170. Librarianne*

    – Academic libraries
    – Rare Books Cataloger (I write descriptions of rare, historic, valuable, etc. books and manuscripts to add to my university’s online library catalog)
    – Mid-level (5 years’ experience)
    – 40 hours per week
    – I’m not expected to be “on” at all when I’m not physically in the office. I can’t take any of the books home with me or do this work remotely, so there are well-established boundaries. When I’m on vacation, I may check my work email once or twice per week to do triage, like deleting university-wide emails that aren’t relevant to me, so I don’t come back to an inbox with 1,000+ messages. When I’m at a conference or other professional development event, I usually check my work email once or twice per day since I’m considered on the clock during those situations. I will note that I write very detailed out-of-office auto-responses so my coworkers know when they should expect replies from me, and so far that’s worked out well.

  171. Matilda Jefferies*

    *Government (I’ve worked at all three levels of gov’t in Canada, and my experience seems to hold true for all of them)

    *Information/ privacy/ policy management


    *Average # of hours: 37.5. This is generally written into our job postings, and most people at most levels hold to it pretty firmly. There are people who don’t, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule, and it doesn’t impact their performance reviews, opportunities for advancement, etc.

    *Plugged in on evenings/ weekends/ vacation: almost never. If I have a pressing deadline, I might take work home in the evenings – this happens maybe once or twice a year. I have a work-issued mobile phone, but there’s no expectation that I will have it turned on when I’m not in the office. I would generalize this to managers as well – I haven’t seen any evidence that my current or previous managers consistently work outside of regular office hours.

  172. Occupational Therapist*

    – Healthcare
    – Pediatric Occupational Therapist
    – mid-level? There’s not really “entry” vs “senior” positions, at least not in my clinics. But I’m 8 years in, so I’m comfortably settled in my career.
    – I choose to limit my direct client hours to 30hrs/week, leaving me with 10 hours for paperwork, making materials for clients, managing my physical workspace (treatment rooms, therapy gym), etc. Even then, I still occasionally work at home for a bit. This varies wildly by person. I have coworkers who work 40 hrs/week and take home paperwork. I have many coworkers who are parents and choose to work part-time. I have coworkers who choose to work part-time at my clinic and part-time elsewhere. I had coworkers who thrived on being busy and worked full time at a clinic, and the hospital on weekends, and home health during lunch breaks/after work.
    *That being said, professional development is on your own time, and you NEED professional development if you want to be a good healthcare provider. My sister and I do this as OTs, my dad and brother do this as doctors, and my mom does this as a nurse. However, I absolutely LOVE what I do, so I read OT Instagramers, blogs, professional journals, and research outside of work, and genuinely enjoy it. I go to a conference on a weekend about once a year, and enjoy the time I spend learning new things and networking with others in my profession. People in my community know I’m a pediatric OT and occasionally consult me on their concerns for their kids during social activities, and I get to share with them what I know or refer them to their pediatrician. That might bother some people, but I really truly adore what I do, and I find joy in helping people this way (without being burnt out – so its important to know yourself).
    – Generally though, you’re expected to NOT be available during weekends, evenings, or vacations.

  173. EH*

    – Software
    – Technical Writer
    – I’ve been doing it for 12 years and have two small awards under my belt. Still haven’t gotten “Senior” tacked onto my title, but I’m qualified for it.
    – 40ish hours/wk. Often a little less, as I tend to work in spurts and get a lot done. When there’s a crunch, I sometimes work more hours, so it all evens out.
    – I am not plugged in on evenings, weekends, or vacation, and not expected to be. The only exception is that sometimes I have to publish things after normal work hours, and I do that remotely from home in the evening.
    – The senior writers I know here and have known at other dayjobs are often overworked and putting in more like 50-60hrs/wk, but they’re not expected to be available outside work hours unless they’re managing other writers (and often not even then, as far as I can tell). If the online help is broken, customers are less likely to be angry the way they are when the actual product is broken, so we don’t have to have coverage the way Support and Dev do.

  174. DDD*

    Health care, outpatient
    Entry to mid
    Generally not expected to be plugged in. At one location, strictly NOT plugged in. At another, we provided on-call services to the hospital, and rotated through on call, which bumped up the time.
    For the more senior providers/the owner, they were much more plugged in when other requesting providers needed them. However, I think if they had better systems/established trust from and to junior clinicians, they could have unplugged a lot better.

  175. RandomU...*

    Your field:
    Supply Chain Operations

    Your job:
    Let’s call me a Sr. Operations Manager (this is the title that would make the most sense outside my company)

    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior:
    In that squishy place between high mid-level and low Senior

    Average number of hours you work per week:

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation:

    Evenings and weekends I need to be available as needed, but not needed very often. I check my email when I get home to see if any last minute disasters hit during my commute or if I’m waiting for an urgent or expected response. ~10 minutes worth. Weekends only when there’s a deadline or something odd going on. Random days off I offer to be available by phone or text. I do not check email. For longer vacations I purposely book locations with crappy cell service and will let everyone know that I will not be available. My company is generally pretty good about respecting time off.

    Any other context you want to add:
    I do travel a fair bit for work. ~25% normally.

  176. AnnonEngineer*

    Your field: Engineering Consultant
    Your job: Civil Engineer
    Transitioning to mid-level from low-level
    Average number of hours you work per week:45 (most weeks in the low 40s, some weeks approach 50 or 60 if there’s travel or deadlines)
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation:
    Depends on deadlines. I don’t generally get push notifications on my phone. I have the flexibility

    We have specific billable goals that assume that we average 45 hours a week over the entire year. We don’t get paid extra for time over 40 directly, but the bonus structure rewards going above and beyond. There’s quite a bite of flexibility in how you schedule your hours, but you’re expected to make deadlines if at all possible. In our firm, it’d be very hard for a person who only works 40 hours a week to advance.

  177. Mr. Tyzik*

    Your field – Financial / Banking industry
    Your job – Agile Coach
    35-45 hours per week
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – Not at all
    My work is contextual to my assignments and coaching needs. I may have lulls between assignments, or a hopping assignment that demands attention. I work for a w/l balance focused company.

  178. Wilbur*

    Heavy Equipment
    Mid-level (Individual contributor)
    40-45 (More if travelling)
    Not expected to be plugged in on weekends or vacation
    Working ~12+hours a day when travelling
    Late night meetings (Scheduled between 5-10 PM, typically 1-2 hrs long) 6-8 times a month

  179. SQL Coder Cat*

    -University IT (US)
    -Student Systems Business Analyst/Project Manager
    -Mid level
    -40 hrs
    -Once or twice a year we will have to have project work that requires early morning (4 am), evening, or weekend hours. Outside of that, we are expected to not be available outside of the workday.

    We are salaried and have some flexibility on when we start/stop our work day, but are expected to be in the office between 10 am – 3pm. Our department head is awesome and reminds everyone regularly that we are to use our personal time to unplug. One of her favorite sayings is, “No one is going to die if this waits until tomorrow.”

  180. Ginevra Farnshawe*

    Commercial litigator at a small firm that does not differ in material respects here from my prior big firm.

    Let’s say mid-level (practicing 10 years, running cases & teams & handling client relationships, but no big clients of my own.)

    Highly variable. Trials are pain—legitimately 120+ hour weeks, TROs happen, etc.—but on the other hand when things are slow I take advantage and can have 20 hour weeks. When things are normal-busy humming along I’d say approx 45 hours. If I were really gunning for master of the universe it would be more because I’d be spending a lot of time on client development.

    Pressure to be plugged in evenings and weekends—I check email and expect the attorneys I’m supervising to do the same, but do not respond until next workday unless there’s real urgency.

    Vacations are different—I have to be prepared to work at least several hours a day wherever I am. For me, this isn’t a huge deal because I prefer renting a beach house somewhere for a week to TRAVEL travel but it’s not unintrusive.

    This is actually better than it was earlier in my career, partly because I’ve learned what semi-reasonable boundaries and priorities to set and am less of a people-pleaser, partly because I am more efficient and can delegate, partly because I refuse to work with psychos and have the leverage to do that. My sense is that if I wanted to keep on doing this, it would get worse before it got somewhat better. The senior partners I work with definitely work hard, but their down-time is much more their own.

  181. DashIt*

    Non Profit – Social Services
    Human Resources
    Mid-Level, close to Senior
    40 hours on average, higher peaks during open enrollment/merit increase/budget times of year
    Minimal expectations of being plugged in outside of usual hours unless there is a Known Thing happening that I should keep eyes and ears out for. I do tend to skim emails in evenings and on days off just so I’m aware of what awaits me upon my return to the office, but that’s a choice and not an expectation.

    We are a two person HR team, my boss and myself, and we operate like equal partners. I’ve set an expectation that people can expect quick and thorough response/action from me when I’m in the office, but NOT that I am available 24/7. It helps that we operate in an environment that has minimal second and third shift staff and in a relatively safe environment so after-hours emergencies are incredibly rare. Also, in the words of a former grandboss “If you didn’t need to call 911, it’s not an emergency. If it’s not an emergency, it can wait.”

    1. shachou*

      Also in HR here! I love that quote. haha I shall keep it in mind for my own ’emergency’ moments

    2. I Have All Of The Questions*

      I feel like I just encountered a unicorn and I love it. I agree with sauchou and I love the quote.

  182. Peachkins*

    -Insurance Industry
    -Claims Adjuster, Level II
    -40 hrs/week
    -We’re not expected to work outside of work hours or while on vacation at all, but some people choose to depending on their workload which fluctuates. I’ve rarely had the need to do that, and it isn’t encouraged, especially if you’re hourly (I’m not). My company doesn’t usually look at extra hours you might be working when considering a promotion or raise (although in the extremely rare event they offer overtime, I suppose it would look good if you took advantage). There are certain metrics they look at along with the quality of your work, and they also look at what you might be involved in within the company but outside of your normal job duties. Any committees you might be on, projects you’ve volunteered for, work events you’ve participated in, etc.

  183. new kid*

    While I’m sure this is industry variable, I would also argue it’s hugely personality dependent and being able to set healthy boundaries for yourself.

    For example, I’ve worked jobs where I essentially was ‘on-call’ 24/7 and that was a real, stated part of the job description. But I’ve also worked jobs where I watched co-workers and bosses give up weekend and evening hours just due to poor boundary setting, without it being an actual requirement (spoken or unspoken, ie. they didn’t see significant professional benefit from it).

    Especially when you’re new in your career, I would prioritize setting boundaries wherever possible, even while paying attention to what impact that has on your professional standing. If it turns out an unspoken 48 work week is a requirement for advancement, it’s easier to weigh the pros and cons and then shift to that if necessary, then to start out working 48 hours only to realize it’s not providing a benefit and try to shift the opposite direction. Once you’ve already set the expectation that you answer emails on a Saturday (for example) that’s a harder boundary to re-establish.

  184. seacow*

    * Physics research
    * Postdoc researcher
    * Mid-level
    * 60+
    * Checking email on evenings & weekends, maybe catching up a bit with work
    * Because research is a tricky long-term career as it relies on funding agencies, we’re encouraged to keep a back-up plan going. I personally try and keep my software skills up to date at the weekend in case I need to slide into software engineering at some point. During the weekdays we typically start early (6 AM meetings till 9 AM) and then work till the early evening (6 or 7 pm).

  185. Krabby*

    – HR (in the tech industry)
    – HR Generalist
    – Mid-level
    – 50 hours a week
    – I’m not expected to be plugged in at all (I could likely cut down a few hours in the office if I was plugged in at home, but I refuse to do that)
    – Right now my team is severely understaffed, so 40-45 is usually where I fall.

  186. ragazza*

    Creative services (in-house for an education company)
    Senior copywriter
    Senior level
    40 hours a week
    Not expected to be plugged in after hours

    I will note that my insistence on having a work-life balance has probably cost me professionally, but I have decided that I would rather have my time than lots of $$$. I’m also not interested in climbing the ranks by becoming a manager–I’m happy as an individual contributor. That said our company culture is like many in that working lots of extra hours shows your “commitment,” and can be very frustrating, especially if people think I’m not as committed. I am–I am productive and hit my deadlines and goals–but my job is not the most important thing in my life by a long shot.

    1. ragazza*

      I should also add that expectations vary greatly from manager to manager. One of my previous managers was terrible/toxic and pretty much said that if I couldn’t get my work done (this was when they were assigning me WAY too much) then I needed to work extra hours. Meanwhile I doubt he worked more than 40, although he was good at acting like he was super busy.

  187. Anon for this*

    Your field: Healthcare
    Your job: Contract negotiation

    Level: Mid/Senior (very small department- one of only a few lawyers)

    Average number of hours you work per week: 40-45 (salaried)

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: EXPECTED? not much, unless there’s an emergent situation/fire that needs to be put out (which is rare). My manager does feel more pressure to be more available and responsive (both during vacation and on weekends/after normal work hours), but I see it vary even within our department and leadership levels. I do work a little bit on weekends sometimes just to set myself up for the week, but then I’ll leave early on Friday :)

    Any other context you want to add: I am fortunate to have a lot of flexibility in how I get my work done- if I’ve had to put in extra hours to get a high priority agreement finalized, I can leave early/cut myself off as the workload allows to balance things back out.

  188. XtinaLyn*

    Not for me, but for my boyfriend. He worked at Apple as a software engineer and routinely worked 80-100 hours/week. It was INSANE. His team was global, so he would get up at 2am to respond to emails. He lasted 16 months, and threw in the towel in April.

  189. ElizabethJane*

    Your field: Gaming
    Your job: Analyst
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Mid
    Average number of hours you work per week: 35-40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Really not at all unless it’s been pre-arranged, and that is rare
    Any other context you want to add: I’m based in the US but I work for a European company and I think that might have some impact. There isn’t the feeling of “Must work 65 hours to be productive”. We also get 6 weeks of vacation to start.

  190. info scientist*

    -research manager
    -42-45 hours a week
    -I keep an eye on my phone but probably answer 2 emails a month in the evenings. On vacation I keep an eye on it and forward things for others to handle as neccessary

  191. Museum Mabel*

    Museums/Cultural Attractions
    Senior Level (Oversee four major departments)
    35-40 hours per week (huge swings for big seasons/events though)
    I pretty much am unreachable on typical evenings and weekends — staff know to text if there’s anything life-shattering, but that only happens a couple times a year (staff in car accidents, flooding in our buildings, etc)

    I’ve actually found I worked WAY more hours (65+ per week) in my lower level positions and have been able to pull back as I’ve progressed in my career. When I first started there was nobody below me to push extra work to so I had to do it all, now I get to set my team’s workloads and have the authority to push back on our administration if I think a new project or initiative will be too taxing on my team (and then advocate for additional staff if they decide to move forward with it anyway).

  192. MillennialDirector*

    -Allied Health services now (direct services for populations with disabilities)
    -Director of Talent Acquisition
    -Started here mid-level, worked my way to Senior leadership after 1 year through working exhaustive hours
    -45 actual work, 50-60hours plugged in. I don’t work on weekends ever.
    -I take vacation sparingly and as such make sure I can leave things handled so I don’t have to check. I have ADHD and fracturing my attention gets stressful super fast….I’d rather sprint hard then take a break and that’s what my Mon-Fri looks like.

    I have a very full life, singing in a band that performs 2-3 weekends a month, driving 6-7 hours to visit family 2 weekends a month, married (no kids) and shamelessly addicted to my garden and RuPaul. That being said, I work my assssss off and it doesn’t always feel lke there is balance. I think about your question a lot! But I will also have more balance when my skills as a manager and trainer improve and my team can take on more. I wish they worked more than 40hrs but I’m careful not to ask it of them bc their workload should be reasonable applying themselves 7-8 hours a day.

    The kind of company you work for makes a big difference, and how fast YOU want to climb the ladder! Start up environments with high pressure to grow and grow fast are easily places you can make a huge impact but there will be more work required to meet loftier targets than in an established or less cutting-edge space. If you are new to your leadership role you may spend a lot more time because you’re figuring out how to manage while doing your normal job. Once you are established, keeping track of what is realistic to accomplish in how much time, and guiding your Senior leadership (owner, C-levels) towards those timelines is what will help you manage your balance.

    Before I was a Director of Recruiting I spent 3 years as a software engineering agency recruiter hiring Execs and Engineers for tech startups. Since I worked on commission, my time was my own. I was able to get a better work life balance then while remaining a top performer but the standards were lower because my firm was established/stable and a little effort went a long way if you were good at your job.

  193. Sam*

    – Engineering / consulting
    – Management and project management
    – Senior level
    – 40 on average
    – Depends; since I am in consulting, this can vary wildly on what I or my team is working at the time.
    – As a manager I need to be reachable off-hours in the event of an emergency, but this is rare for me. For project-specific stuff, it depends on what’s going on. I can have projects that need OT or need my attention in weird hours due to timelines, schedules, deadlines, etc. Being in consulting this is par for the course, but we are flexible and take time for ourselves elsewhere when stuff happens. We can easily delegate authorities while on vacation. A lot of managers like to stay reachable while on vacation (a ton of staff use their work phones as personal phones so it is more challenging for them to put work away) but staff understand they’re away and generally are very respectful of their time.
    – For additional context: I used to manage portions of major construction projects and had no work/life balance as work was basically 24/7. The volume of email/calls was too much to stay on top of during normal work hours, so you had no choice to do this after evenings and weekends. It’s all consuming. Some people thrive in this. I do not. Instead of continuing down the burnout path, I got my own personal phone. It makes it a lot easier for me to put work away and it has significantly helped my health and stress levels.

  194. Ettakit*

    Higher Education
    Academic Advisor
    Mid-Level (~5 years)
    My work hours depend on the time of the year. During our busy times I work around 60+ hours – emails at night and on weekends, events on nights and weekends. Due to the nature of the work, some weeks are slow so I can actually get work done in my office. Some weeks, I see students back to back and never have time to get ahead of my projects and paperwork.
    My boss says that it’s not expected to be available via email during those times, but if you’re not working during your “off” hours, advisors can get seriously behind. I serve over 1000 students, so not handling some of that outside of work would cause a ton of stress. There are certain events that we do have to work on weekends, but they are rare. Most are volunteer, but I tend to enjoy them (and get unofficial comp time) so I will work them if I’m available.

  195. ShysterB*

    Legal – AmLaw 100 firm (in the Philadelphia office)
    Litigator/Trial Attorney
    Senior – Partner, ~25 years in private practice
    50-60 hours/week when no trial/hearing on-going. (Was 70+ when I was an associate).
    Expected to always be available — though I’ve “trained” people to accept that half the year, I spend the weekends camping without reliable cell/email service.
    The idea of average hours obviously go out the window for lead-up to and during trial — 12-16 hour days, 7 days/week are expected then.

  196. AskingtheSameQuestions*

    – Higher education administration
    – Program administrator/manager
    – Low mid-level – I’m not supervising anyone other than student interns, but someone new to the industry wouldn’t be – able to jump into my position
    – During the summer 40, during the academic year probably 45-50. It’s supposed to be a 35 hour per week position, but I rarely take my lunch breaks
    – Verbally, evenings, weekends, and vacation are yours and there’s no expectation of response. Realistically, though, it’s considered normal to check email at least once a day unless you’re truly away from the internet on vacation. I’ve had days where I took them off to move where I was literally shooting off emails in between carrying boxes to/from the car because what needed to happen needed to happen then. It really varies, but it’s good to show commitment.

  197. Art3mis*

    Health Insurance
    Claims Examiner
    Entry Level
    40, overtime is sometimes available
    Not plugged in at all. I could access my email if I really wanted to, but I’m not expected to, and since I’m hourly, they’d have to pay me for it.
    I think managers or people higher up might have different expectations. I’ve never been anything other than entry level, so I don’t know that for certain.

  198. Ali G*

    My experience comes from working at 3 vastly different places over 16+ years. IMO, management sets the culture and you are expected to fall in line or not.

    First Job
    Non Profit
    Entry progressed to Senior over 8 years
    At first it was very manageable, but then I progressed to a senior position and we got a new CEO. New CEO was an evil genius/workaholic and things vastly changed. I could mostly unplug on vacation, but nights and weekends were fair game. In retrospect, I don’t think it needed to be that way. CEO just had a different opinion of what an “emergency” was.

    For profit manufacturer
    Technical SME
    I probably averaged about 50 hours/week. More when traveling, which was frequent and often last minute.
    I was expected to be available 24/7. It wasn’t stated but the time the CEO was upset I didn’t answer an email the day after Thanksgiving when we were busy admitting my 90+ y/o grandmother to the hospital pretty much says it all.

    Senior Leadership
    35 (sometimes up to 40 but we are paid at 35)
    I am not expected to be on call at all. My boss (CEO) has my cell # and can call or text me if there is an emergency, but emergencies for our organization (that I could actually do something about) are very rare. Again, culture set from the top – CEO is not sending tons of emails over the weekend, texting at night etc. He gets that people have a life and that there really isn’t much that can’t wait until Monday at 9 am.

  199. KitKat*

    – IT
    – Cloud Solution Creation/Installation
    – Mid-level
    – Typically around 45. Overtime is not expected, but the time-and-a-half is seen as a perk for those not on salary
    – There’s no expectation to be available nights and weekends, and especially not on vacation. That said, it’s not uncommon to have evening/weekend projects that may have you up all through the night, but they’re always planned well in advance.

  200. Dadolwch*

    – Nonprofit Development
    – Donor and Data Services Manager
    – Mid-level
    – 36-40 hours per week
    – Rarely need to be plugged in on weekends and almost never while on vacation. Some of the highest level leadership team members do tend to work more than 40 hours per week sometimes, but they also try to demonstrate work/life balance by taking time off as needed. The majority of employees here have families with school-age children, so the organization makes an effort to recognize and encourage employees to take true time off and not constantly be in work mode. That’s definitely not always the case for all nonprofits I’ve worked for, the more successful and ones with better work cultures don’t just talk about work/life balance, their leaders mirror it and help make it happen.

  201. House Tyrell*

    -Property Management (residential)
    -Portfolio Manager
    -Mid level? I don’t supervise anyone, I manage properties not people!
    -40 hours a week, except we get off at 2pm on Fridays in the summer so more like 37 atm
    -As a portfolio manager, there’s no expectation to be plugged in on weekends or vacations. There are board meetings in the evenings about once a month/quarterly per property and an evening annual meeting per property, but other than that we’re not staying late. There is an after hours emergency line and if it’s a true emergency then the dispatcher could connect them to but that hasn’t happened yet (knock on wood!) On site manages usually get more calls from residents after hours because their residents know them better.
    -My office is on a ROWE plan (results oriented work environment- so we have “unlimited” vacation.) My boss goes away for like a week 4ish months and we get off early on Fridays all summer, and get the week between Christmas and NYE off and the day after Thanksgiving, day after Independence Day, etc. I’ve only been here for 2 months but I was already approved for a week long vacation this fall and I just covered for a guy who was on vacation for a week and a half and takes frequent vacations.

    1. Emily*

      I’m a little bit late to the party, but hey I’ll add in my info!

      – Property management (office, a little bit of retail)
      – Property administrator… but my responsibilities overlap a lot with an assistant property manager
      – Entry-level
      – Usually 40-42 hours per week, but once budgets start I’m probably going to come in a couple of Saturdays to help.
      – When I’m clocked out, I don’t check my email and I don’t get calls or texts. I’m probably going to check my email a few times when I’m on PTO next week, because of extenuating circumstances to ease my anxiety – but that’s by choice. I’m low-level enough that I don’t need to be checking anything.

      The property managers are probably working 45-50 hours a week already. The portfolio manager (my boss) works… I actually don’t know. At least 50 hours a week? He works a lot. Generally their cells need to be on during nights and weekends, in case a building catches on fire or floods or other catastrophe strikes. Budget season is really poorly managed at my company so that involves late nights and weekends at the office as well.

      On the flip side, we all try to respect each other’s time off as much as possible, and I know that if the PMs ever need flexibility for work hours my boss tends to agree. (It’s not really possible for them to work remotely, beyond an afternoon or so, though. For the 2 of us who answer the main office phone he cares about tardiness, although if ever we need to leave early for a doctor’s appt or something like that he doesn’t mind.)

      This is the first property management company I’ve worked at, so it’s hard to know exactly what’s normal. I know for a PM it’s normal to have to be available by cell in case of emergency. I know our budgets are not normal – usually they do require longer hours but not that bad. (One of the PMs quit bc he did not want to go through another budget season here.) And I’m fairly sure that just about everyone at my local office, at least, is overworked ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  202. Deja Vu*

    State Government
    Human Resources
    Mid-Level – not quite entry, but below senior
    95% of the time I work 40, sometimes I come in earlier and I may work a little later but usually leave early the next week
    I check my work email on the weekends and nights and will respond if it’s urgent, otherwise, I wait until the next business day.

  203. Harriet M. Welsch*

    – Legal
    – Attorney
    – Senior (partner at 10-attorney firm)
    – 45-60
    – Expectation of being plugged in when out of office – it depends on current projects, but generally low to moderate expectation for evenings and weekends, and no or low expectation for vacations.
    – I spent the first 8 years practicing at a large firm in a mid-sized city where the work-life balance was much less…balanced. Making the transition to a small firm in a smaller town has significantly impacted my job satisfaction for the better and I still make a great living ($250k+). I still have very stressful days (or weeks), but for the most part it is manageable. My practice is primarily focused on transactional work that is generally not emergent, so scheduling and time management are important.

  204. Nott the Brave*

    Your field: Political Advocacy
    Your job: Instructional Design
    Mid-level: People with my job typically have an advanced degree – I don’t, but have a wealth of experience
    Average Hours: 40/week
    Plugged-in-ness: If something comes up while one of our education programs is happening, I respond during evenings and weekends. If I check my email after I leave, it usually means something has gone wrong – I can only think of three or four occasions in the last 4 months where I’ve had to stay connected. I don’t check my email on vacation, but would respond to a direct slack message if it was needed.

    I work at an organization that prioritizes family realities – if I needed to leave right now to get my kid out of daycare or work remotely to take care of a family member they would absolutely support it. I have to work 8+ hours in a day if I have a deadline I’m trying to meet, but that’s rare (and usually during crunch times, which come around once a quarter or so.

    We also have occasional weekend training events, but those are fairly rare (on my team). I’ve attended 1 so far and expect to attend 1 more this year.

  205. Metonym*

    – Finance/Investing
    – Communications Manager
    – Mid-Level (15+ years experience, high-level projects and responsibilities but solo contributor with no direct reports)
    – 40 hours/week with rare exceptions
    – I make it a point to ignore Slack/email on evenings and weekends unless there’s a (rare) deadline crunch or other time factor in play
    – I work at a firm with a huge emphasis on supportive culture and employee well-being, so we have a lot of flexibility as long as we’re producing well. Many people do work evenings and weekends, but I choose to hold boundaries on that, and that is respected

    1. BigRedGum*

      yay! good for you! i don’t think work life should interfere with real life! (even though that isn’t possible for everyone)

  206. PublicSector4Life*

    Legal (government)
    Just above entry-level (3-5 years of experience)
    No expectation of responding to email on evenings/weekends, though I check it anyway; work on weekends as necessary to get the job done.

    I work as an attorney in state government. We’re all exempt employees. The office is extremely self-directed; you have your own projects and you get them done. Nothing tends to be urgent such that it couldn’t be dealt with on the next business day. You do get promoted by meeting your work production requirements (i.e., resolving X number of cases per month) and, yes, by being involved in the legal community in our particular legal field. Realistically, how much you work depends on how efficient you are. Some people in my office at my level work 55+ hours; some work 40 and find they can get everything done (with the occasional weekend prepping for a Monday court appearance).

  207. Data Maven*

    Academic Research
    Data Management/Project Coordinator
    Started Entry-level, but am moving into Mid-Level
    “Expected” little to none “Actually” A lot
    I currently do the work of 3, maybe 4 people due to 1) transition in leadership, 2) Hiring freezes, and 3) I’m really just good at my job. It’s not tenable, it’s something my current manager (who isn’t technically my boss because I also answer to people outside my institution) is aware of, and it’s something we’re working together on to fix. I really don’t recommend this- I’m very quickly approaching burn-out and I’m only in my Mid-20’s.

    1. BigRedGum*

      i used to work in retail and it was like that. i got to where i hated what had once been a fun job. no more. work is my lowest priority after 5 pm and before 8ish am.

  208. BigRedGum*

    Your field – health/science research
    Your job – Senior Sponsored Projects Officer
    I’m mid-level. The Dr’s & Researchers cannot submit grants without me
    40 or less. i’m salaried and do NOT believe in putting in more that 40
    I flat out refuse to be plugged in when i’m not on the clock (even though i’m salaried). there is no reason whatsoever for that, at least not in my job
    Yes, clearly, i’m a total millennial, but i get all my work done. i don’t leave projects undone, i meet all my deadlines, etc. i have noticed that other people in my department and similar ones spend so much time socializing that they end up staying late, or working from home or on the weekends. i will not do that. there are some jobs that require more flexibility with hours (example: zoo keeper) & if i was in one of those, i would be flexible also. but i have an office job. DON’T WASTE ALL YOUR TIME WITH A JOB. IT’S JUST A JOB.

    1. writerson*


      Exactly! I used to tell coworkers, “We’re not saving lives here. We’re selling [insert insignificant product]. If I make your minor copy edits at 8 AM tomorrow instead of 8 PM tonight, it really doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things.”

    2. BigRedGum*

      i have to add in how depressing i find it to see so many people feeling like they have to be plugged in to work so much. is it worth it? am i just a weirdo who doesn’t care? i can think of a few jobs where i would willingly put in more than 40 hours and they all involve animals – orphaned elephant keeper, person who runs an animal shelter. i’m in my late 30s but meet that millennial classification, so maybe that’s it, but i only work to pay the bills. i’d be so happy doing charity work for free if i could manage it. my family would not love it, so that’s one of the reasons i don’t – i love them too!

  209. Lexi Kate*

    -Your field: Health Insurance Finance (northeastern US)
    -Your job: Market FP&A CFO
    -Mid-level to Senior level (depending on the structure each year)
    -Either 30-40 or 55-65 it ebbs and flows based on market crisis’s and time of year
    -I have to get the work done before my deadlines so if it looks like the deadline is not going to be met I am working at night after I put the kids to bed and on the weekends. I need to check my emails on the weekend to be sure we are not having a crisis but usually I am 8-5 mon -fri.

  210. Grojas*

    – Software development
    – Manager of a product management team
    – Senior
    – 40-45
    – A tiny bit on weekday evenings; not at all on weekends or vacations; I’m an early bird so will monitor mail beyond my own working hours because I clock out well before 5 p.m.
    – I work at a huge company and plenty of people work 50+ hours but I don’t. There are definitely groups where that is the norm but I also know of many where it no longer is. As a manager, I don’t like people working long hours because they burn out and because if they’re doing the work of 1.5 people I can’t accurately assess what my resourcing needs are.

  211. GiantPanda*

    IT for local government and public services
    Senior Database Administrator
    40 hours / week.

    I do (planned) work outside of office hours quite frequently, anything that requires a downtime. It is not a problem to get the hours back, so the total stays at 40.
    On vacation I am not plugged in at all. Weekends/evenings I tend to check emails but not react to them except for rare emergencies.

  212. writerson*

    Content Strategist/Writer
    Varies; most weeks it’s about 28-30 hours, but can be as little as 10 if clients are on vacation or 45 during one bonkers month earlier this year
    I have my emails set to only notify me every 2 hours during weeknight evenings. I’ll glance at them but only respond if truly urgent, and even then it’s usually not to “work” but to communicate, “Received, I’ll have edits/updates first thing tomorrow.” During weekends I don’t look at my phone. I communicate with clients ahead of vacations and typically don’t work at all, though I’ll check into emails every couple days and assure them I’ll address things when I’m back. At my old job, my boss expected you to bring your laptop on vacation and be available – told me before my honeymoon “They have wifi in Hawaii.”

    I quit my ad agency job a year ago to start my own tiny agency in large part to reclaim my work-life balance. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m very clear with clients about expectations. I’ve never missed a deadline, but I also prioritize my health and well-being. It means that if I hit a slower period – waiting for client feedback, etc – I step away from my desk and go outside, get some exercise, or play dinosaurs with my niece, rather than sitting in an office waiting. In my old agency, I was in the office 40-50 hours week, but often waiting on input from my (largely AWOL) boss that would tend to come about 8 PM and require an immediate response. Now, I work far fewer average hours but overall make more money, and I’m a lot happier.

    It can be done, but it took 20 years of building my career and proving myself so I could build a network that can support my new business. I’m now expecting my first child and looking forward to being able to be there for important things in his/her life rather than stuck in an office.

  213. Kyubey*

    Field – Accounting & finance
    Job title – Staff accountant
    Entry level
    40 hours a week

    I do the accounting for a private company, big 4 is probably very different but I’ve hardly worked any overtime since I graduated and started work (2 years)

  214. From The High Tower on Capitol Hill*

    –Communications and Government Relations Specialist
    –I would say that I am an entry-level lobbyist, but the typical progression for lobbying is working in the Capitol and then you transition to lobbying so in that regard I am at the mid-point in my career (I am also the youngest registered lobbyist in my state)
    –During a state budget, it is usually upwards of 80-90 hours per week. But during my “off” season it is the normal 40 hours.
    –If it is during a state budget, I am expected to be completely responsive at all times.
    –Finding balance is difficult when you are young and in the workplace, there is the expectation that you have to prove yourself so that wherever you work will find value in you as an employee. Push yourself for success, but realize your limits. I know my current boss expects me to do more work since I don’t have a family at home, which is entirely unfair. Don’t be afraid to push back. You are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.

  215. Robin Ellacott*

    Field: Social services/health admin
    Job: COO of a smallish company
    Senior level
    Hours per week: 40 is expected. I stay late or come in early about 6 times a year but then adjust my hours to make up for it.
    How plugged in am I in off hours: I do respond to texts evenings/weekends but am not formally expected to do so and wouldn’t look bad if I were less responsive. Mostly off hours texts relate to scheduling or urgent staffing situations. I never check work email from home.
    Context: Our owner/CEO is very concerned with work/life balance and is emphatic that work hours don’t get out of hand. I and one other senior staff member have somewhat flexible hours if we choose to adjust them; all other staff leave promptly at 5. Also, because a lot of our work is confidential and our contracts stipulate specific handling of information, doing work from home would require a lot of attention to data security, so it would be hard to do in a pinch even if we wanted to.

  216. addiez*

    – Financial institutions
    – Corporate social responsibility
    – Mid-level
    – About 45 hours/week (along with others above, schedule fluctuates due to team needs and personal issues like doctors’ appointments)
    – I’m expected to regularly check my email – my boss doesn’t explicitly say so, but I even do so on vacations and I feel like it’s the right thing to do. Having a team, I think it’s important to make sure I’m not holding people up with approvals or quick answers, but I don’t do extensive work off hours generally.

  217. Corporate Goth*

    Government/ military (civilian)
    Top of the middle range level

    45-50. Can include staying late, texting about personnel issues or plans, and easily increases if I’m traveling, which isn’t often in this role. I make a point of leaving (close to) on time at least 2-3 times a week. Past roles have been 50-60, with lots of travel, and ended in burnout. This is the first role where I have both formal (vs informal) authority and a support structure rather than being an office of one.

    I’m expected to be in some touch if I’m traveling, but the formal support structure means I can delegate. Same for vacation, which is more hands off than travel (past roles – phone calls on vacation for non-emergencies). Any emergencies the delegate can’t handle, they’ll usually text rather than email. It’s a nice change.

    There are parts of the job I can’t bring home, which is nice. But I could be called in for emergencies and would have to physically go into work.

    1. Corporate Goth*

      I’m okay with not getting a senior role right now, even though I’d be very competitive for it. It would mean increased travel, increased stress, and increased hours. They extra few dollars a paycheck aren’t worth it. We’ll see if burnout recovery restores my ambition in a few years.

  218. Sara, A Lurker*

    Higher ed marketing
    Midlevel marketing writer
    No more than 40 hrs
    No evenings or weekend hours except in rare circumstances (volunteering at a campus event, for example)

    I think it’s worth pointing out that I don’t think this is typical for my field or career level, but it is not atypical for my employer, which is an enormous and well-funded university with a large enough marketing team that I don’t have to do it all myself. That’s what I was looking for in a job when I found this one–I had previously worked in arts and nonprofit marketing, where we talked a big game about work/life balance but where the specifics of the marketing role (including event support, PR, etc.) necessitated weekend and evening hours and loads of availability.

    As far as how my chill schedule will affect my ability to move up, if I wanted to–again, in the specific contect of my giant employer, it is very common for mid-level employees like myself to zigzag their way into higher-level roles internally.

  219. DVM*

    Veterinary Medicine
    Veterinarian and practice owner (senior)
    no weekends, holidays
    no expectation of email or text outside of business hours

    $250,000/yr compensation. IMO worth the hours.

  220. dinoweeds*

    – Cannabis Retail
    – General Manager
    – Mid

    I also value a good work/life balance so I try to keep it at 40 per week. That being said, I live in a resort town so I put in a lot of extra hours during peak season and holidays. I don’t mind working holidays/weekends since we have a couple months of downtime during shoulder season. I am definitely on call 24/7 due to the nature of the business. Since cannabis is still federally illegal I have to be available all the time for security reasons and to make sure that we are following state laws to the letter. In the end I really, really enjoy my job so I don’t feel like I am overextending myself or making undue sacrifices.

  221. Confused*

    – International Development
    – Program Officer
    – Mid-level? I don’t manage anyone, but I assume the program assistants in our office are what would be entry level
    – 40-45 hours a week
    – Somewhat plugged in

    Many of my colleagues are +12 hours ahead of me, which necessitates evening and early morning work, and compromises on both ends. Usually, these calls are planned well in advance and people are understanding about life happening. I would not be expected to be plugged into email after work or on weekends unless there was something major happening.

  222. Amethystmoon*

    I am a support person in a large company that does retail, but at the corporate level. I’ve been promoted several times but am not a manager. I attend Toastmasters once a week in the evenings for about an hour and a half, and am active at the district level, so sometimes have to do things on a Saturday. Other than that, support staff is hourly, so is not expected to work evenings or weekends (and is in fact, discouraged from doing so because they don’t want to pay us OT). I do Toastmasters for networking through work, so I guess it’s a “plugged in” activity. It’s volunteer and I don’t get paid for it. Otherwise, my evenings and weekends are free.

  223. Brjun*

    Field: Software Engineer
    Your job: CTO/co-founder at a startup in San Francisco. I only mention to location because it is notoriously bad for life/work balance.

    Level: I would be a senior/mid-level level software engineer if I didn’t run off to join the (metaphorical) circus. The startup is small (less than 10 people) and has been around for a few years.

    Hours: It varies. When we were starting out, I often worked on Saturday. About a year and a half ago, at the peak of trying to get it going, I tried timing how much I worked and it came out to 55 hours a week. Over time though, my co-founders and I chilled out and got efficient. I would say it is about 40hours on most weeks now. I almost never work on weekends. It helps that the hours are really flexible, so it is easy to run errands, for a example.

    I want to address software engineering in general, too. I think that it has a perception of people working too much … which is often true at junior level. As a software engineer, the more senior you are, the more, in my experience, you are likely to go home at 6pm sharp (& get in at 10 or 11 & get a free lunch too) Senior people have skills and families. My partner is also in software and I think he was working like, 6 hours a day for a while, including lunch. This doesn’t appear to affect his career negatively.

    Plugged in: Well, I chose my poison. Even then, I go hiking a lot and such. My partner literally has no way for anyone at work to instant message him on his phone, right now, but that’s not super common.

  224. Long Time Lurker*

    Your field: Technology
    Your job Quality Assurance
    depends on the upcoming projects 40-50 hours
    Some people are really plugged in, some are not. I don’t find myself always working on weekends/evenings, but I find it easier to answers messages and emails so they don’t pile up and I get them off my plate faster.

  225. Michelle Sickles*

    Title: Director of Talent Acquisition
    Level: Mid
    Hours: 45-50
    I work for a private firm and am available via text and email after hours if I am needed. I typically do 1-2 hours of work over the weekend to stay on top of projects and am pretty good about unplugging during PTO. There is an expectation that to be promoted / make more money – you need to go above and beyond just what expected of the day to day duties of the job.

  226. FindThisVeryInteresting*

    Fortune 500 – HQ
    Sr Manager, Digital Marketing
    Upper Mid-Level (next promotion would put me in Senior Level)
    50-60 hours each week – I will say that this is not mandatory to keep my job, but is the only way to continue to put out stellar work on the promotion-opp projects and to have bandwidth to take on the next big, sexy project while also doing right by my team from a management perspective.
    I’m normally available from 5AM – 7PM each day via text and email. I often do 5-6PM calls with vendors, managers, etc. I also put in about 10 hours a week on skill growth and do 1-2 conferences each year.

  227. CorwinCat*

    – Biotech Research
    – Electrical/Hardware engineer
    – 10+ years in the field
    – Typically 40-45ish, with some “crunch” periods a couple times a year that require 50+.
    – We are encouraged to “unplug” from work on vacations, etc., but most of us voluntarily remain accessible by email/text, etc., on weekends, simply because our lab sometimes requires attention outside working hours. Eg, I am the primary contact on our automatic freezer & power outage remote alert system, so I keep those notifications turned on all the time just in case. But luckily, we don’t have frequent issues in that regard.

  228. ArchivesGremilin*

    Your field: Archives
    Your job: Archives Associate (though I have my MLIS)
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Technically by title I’m entry level but I’ve been in the field for 7+ years
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: My work doesn’t leave the building, so not a ton. Sometimes I’ll have to work on a presentation at home but it’s rare. Not expected to be plugged on vacation at all. as for weekends, I refuse to have my work email on my cell and we have to have two-factored authentication on our email so I have that sent to my work phone so I can’t check my email at home, even if I wanted to :)

  229. Random Thought*

    Financial Services Industry
    low-middle (6 years of experience; senior enough to have a corporate title, but several rungs below the top)
    45-55 hours a week
    I’m expected to be available as needed to get my work done, even if it means working evenings and weekends. however, management is supportive of pushing back on unreasonable requests and limiting after hours work to what is really essential to business needs. I took a vacation and was almost entirely unplugged but did take 1 call (answered without thinking! could havesent it to vm without reprecussions). managers typically do check emails on low key vacations but unplug for bigger deal trips.
    Other context: I do transactional work related to technology. many of my peers in other roles work closer to a 40-45 hour week.

  230. NJAnonymous*

    Management / Strategy Consulting for a Big 4 firm
    Advising Fortune 100 Firms (usually financial services)
    Senior – I’m a director which is the first level of management in most Big 4 firms (you have multi-million dollar sales goals, utilization rates to hit (ie % of time spent on billable client work), teams to oversee (which changes every few months or so), plus industry networking and brand building
    A slow week is 45 hours, a typical week is 50-55, but if deadlines are approaching (whether for client work or to respond to requests for proposals), it can easily fall into 60-70+ hours
    This varies dramatically. Vacations are usually pretty sacred, weekends can require work if you’re up against one of the deadlines – but if you’re good at managing your time, team, partner, and client expectations it’s not super common. Maybe once a quarter? But nights are fare game. This definitely flexes dependent on the time of year. Summer time is typically pretty slow. It also dramatically changes depending on what team/partner you’re working with. Because Big 4 firms are a partnership, I find the level of understanding and support for work/life balance is completely dependent on the partner that you’re working with at the time.

    I’d also note that because I’m a woman and a parent (a rarity for Directors/Managing Directors/Partners – though it’s better than it was) I feel constricted on both ends and vacillate between A) wanting to prove to leadership that I should be taken seriously and be given opportunities to advance, and thus will work longer hours to prove as such, and B) wanting to forge a better path and support those who come after me or report to me.

  231. Angthe SA*

    Accounting Department-Telecommuncations
    Staff Accountant
    Mid Level
    40-45 depending on the time of month (month closed at the beginning is 45 but anytime after the 15 is 40)
    I don’t check email or anything normally on the weekend or time off and in the 3 years I worked her I have had 1 after our phone call.
    I think this may differ if you work at an actually accounting firm but my accounting hours are actually normally more after tax season (during the summer) because that is our business busy season. My bosses (VP and CFO) however are more plug in but I don’t see them working more than 45 hour and they usually go home early on Friday’s.

  232. DataGirl*

    *IT- Currently Healthcare Education (non-profit), previously Automotive
    *Currently IT advisory, previously IT support
    *Mid-level with a caveat- there is no advancement/management options for me in any of the jobs I’ve had- I’ve always been the only person doing my specific IT thing, with non-IT management. But I’ve been in the field 10 years and am paid at mid-level
    *Current 35-50, previously easily 60+
    *I am expected to always check emails and deal with emergencies. Currently since I am more of an advisor, technical emergencies are rare and any extra hours I do is usually preparing reports or creating training/educational materials. Previously in automotive it was 24/7 expectation, because if a line goes down it’s costing 10’s of thousands of dollars per hour, or even sometimes per minute, that you aren’t producing materials. It was common to get calls at 3am or on a Sunday or at dinner and have to immediately jump to fix the issue. It’s the main reason I got out of that field.
    *My experience is that technical jobs have a higher expectation of ‘always-on’ availability than non-technical. However even in my current field of Healthcare I see my non technical manager working crazy hours to get things done; she’ll often work 12 hour days. As we’re a non-profit, we are terminally understaffed and overworked.

  233. Eponymous*

    Field: Environmental consulting
    Title: Staff engineer
    Level: Lower mid-level (Beyond entry level but not fully mid-level)
    Hours: 40-45 for an average week, and I work to keep it close to that. 50+ per week last month during Serious Deadline Season
    Connectivity: I don’t feel that I’m /required/ to be plugged-in, but I do check my work email once in the evening before work days to see if anything has come up for the next morning. I make a point of being unavailable on vacation days.
    Other: Hours and connectivity can vary widely based on project. We’re understaffed at the moment so that is causing issues as well. I’ve been firm about working a reasonable number of hours and disconnecting when necessary; some colleagues are less lucky.

  234. Dan*

    Your field: Technical R&D support for various federal government agencies
    Your job: Data analytics and software development
    Level: Mid-level
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: I’m not. In fact, company doesn’t allow email on personal phones. Only senior people get company issued phones. I *do* have remote access to work email (and work computers) but the culture for junior and mid-level staff is “off work means OFF work”
    Any other context you want to add: I get paid reasonably well (over 6 figures as an individual contributor) and get a month of paid time off that I can take at my discretion and not get any flak for. (That is, I take *all* of my paid vacation.) All in all, a pretty good gig.

  235. Peaches*

    -Jan-San Supply Business
    -Customer Service/AP/Contract Specialist (we’re a small office under a much larger corporate office, so people tend to wear lots of hats!
    -Mid level, I guess?
    -40 hours/week
    -Not at all expected to be “plugged in” during vacation or on weekends/evenings.

  236. Not plugged in (she/her)*

    Your field: Higher Education
    Your job: Secretary to an administrator
    Mid-level (worked here 2 years so far; got hired directly to an advanced secretarial role)
    Hours/week: Exactly 40, less when I use sick leave and vacation leave
    Evenings/weekends: Not at all. Occasionally my boss sends me a question over text, but I am not at all expected to check my email.

    Extra info: The administrator I support is high up in the organization and is way more plugged in. Nevertheless, they do make time for family and community projects.

  237. J*

    – Higher Education
    – Manager for Academic Support Team
    – Mid-Level (senior within my department and I manage staff, but it’s a big school so I’m not senior in the broader sense at all)
    – 35-40 most weeks, occasionally more if there’s a Very Good Reason
    – There isn’t a spoken expectation that you’re available 24/7, but if you act like you are available, you will be treated like you are. Only union staff (all non-exempt) have boundaries that are really actively enforced by HR, since we’d have to pay overtime. My boss pulls 10 hour days pretty much every day. When I first became a manager I caved in to peer pressure and burnt myself out really badly (like, crying in public on a regular basis, started making tons of mistakes at work, etc.). After that experience, I realized that while people are happy to take advantage of my constant availability, I’m neither rewarded for providing it nor penalized for refusing to so…..I stopped. I took my work email off my phone, quit checking my email during sick days/vacations/nights/weekends, and told my staff I expected the same behavior of them, and actively inquire if I see people staying late regularly/chastise my staff if they treat their colleagues as if they have 24/7 availability. I still brag about the day I came in at 9am, had my dept chair say “did you see the email I sent last night?” and cheerfully replied, “I just came in, so I’ll see it when I get to my desk!”

    There is NO reason any one in my department needs to be THAT plugged in – we’re not an emergency room. And what I’ve observed is when people tacitly began acting as if that’s the expectation, everything becomes an emergency, and others use your constant availability as a way to avoid planning/communicating/fixing things themselves. And, of course, because you’re getting it all done (even if you’re pulling 60 hour weeks to do it), the only “reward” is more work with less advance notice. I’m sure there are industries where evening/weekend expectations are clearly communicated upfront and dedication is rewarded accordingly, but in my institution, that is pointedly NOT the spoken expectation (the HR Newsletter last quarter encouraged all of us to put “Join me in email free weekends!” in our email signature) – just the unspoken one we hope people will think they “have” to fulfill. And that’s toxic, and I’m not playing that game.

    The result? This year I received the top award given to staff at my institution. So I really encourage people to be direct in asking what the real expectation is in terms of availability, and behaving accordingly, because I think in most cases – people are happy to accept 24/7 availability but know they can’t actually tell someone to provide it.

  238. Stephanie*

    -Supplier Quality Engineer
    -40-45/week (about 5-10 more if I’m traveling to a supplier site)
    -Early career
    -I have a work cell, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been contacted on it outside normal working hours. I can pretty confidently unplug during vacations–my last boss and I had an understanding that if it was truly urgent, he would reach me on my personal cell (he never called). Current boss, TBD. Occasionally, I have checked email during the evenings, but I don’t think I would be negatively impacted if I didn’t, especially at my level

    Work hours can increase to evenings/weekends, mostly due to travel to supplier manufacturing sites. Many sites are in rural areas and can require driving an additional 2-3 hours from the nearest airport. We also support new model launches at our factories, so you can work 60-70 hours at the plant for short periods (4-5 months) to support the new model build.

  239. Ourhours*

    This survey will obviously skew towards people who have accessibility to AAM during working hours! We’r missing the far end of the bell curve with so much less w/l balance that there is no opportunity to respond

    1. Oaktree*

      Presumably those people will comment when they’re done with work and are doing leisure activities (like reading AAM).

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Well yeah, you can only draw the data from the people available and willing to give it.

      I wouldn’t even presume that they will do so later because honestly, people without a work/life balance of sorts aren’t on AAM.

      1. Emma*

        People without work/life balance are of course on AAM, to learn to be better managers, to read about other’s careers, learn from the answers posted. I’d say that people interested in their careers are more likely to be on AAM and also more likely to invest more hours into their jobs.

  240. noahwynn*

    -Safety Manager
    -Mid-level now. Although, previous company I was senior (director) level and starting looking for a role with a better fit because I was supposed to be always available and responsive to emails even at 2am.
    In office: 40. Travel/home: 10. Some weeks there is zero travel or time spent working at home, some weeks there is more.
    -I’m expected to answer the phone if the company calls, but that would only happen for a large event like an aircraft accident. I check emails to keep up on operations but I don’t generally respond outside of normal office hours. I just hate coming in Monday morning at a full inbox and would rather occasionally sort email and clear it out on the weekend.
    -Like I said, I was in a role and took a step back and a paycut because I wanted a better work/life balance. Part of that was the role I was in, but a huge part of it was the company. The company was smaller and safety was a department of one person and also responsible for various other operational functions. Even with a paycut I’m much happier now because I have nearly every weekend off and am able to use PTO and disconnect from the company and travel.

  241. kittymommy*

    Municipal Government
    Executive Assistant to Senior/Primary Executives
    Dependent on time of year: slow time 45hrs/week; busy time 50hrs/week
    While there is no written “expectation” the nature of my job means I’m typically contacted via phone and email for questions.

  242. Unruly Bluebird*

    Industry: Healthcare IT Consulting
    Job: Project Manager & UI Designer
    Level: Midlevel – Experienced (15 years), non-management
    Hours: Usually 40ish, higher if I’m building out a User Interface
    Evenings/Weekends/Vacation: No expectations. Maybe an emergency question if I’m available, but it’s not a problem if I’m unreachable. Often it’s more telling myself to step away than them telling me to be available.
    Context: It wouldn’t be looked at as a positive if were working evenings/weekends/vacation. Once in a while, ok, but if I were doing it every week, my team lead would be concerned about my bandwidth. Work/life is super important at my job, and it’s one of the reasons I like working here. They aren’t interested in burning me out. I did work at a few really high demand, high hour jobs before this one. It took a lot of work to earn my golden ticket.

  243. HRMgr*

    Law firm
    HR Manager
    55 – 60+ hours/week
    One of my main responsibilities is ensuring full coverage during operating hours for five different office locations, so I’m typically working 7:30am to 5:15pm at a bare minimum. I also need to stay fairly available on days off, so I have my desk phone forwarded to my cell phone and keep up with email on my cell. I frequently work late during the week (7 – 8pm), and usually work at least one or two Saturdays a month to keep things moving along since I’m pulled away pretty often for whatever is the hottest fire.

  244. A Social Worker*

    – Social Work
    – Program Coordinator
    – Mid-level
    – 45-50 hours per week
    – Evenings/weekends: Expected to be available by phone for consultation if needed by on call clinician.
    – Vacations: Another manager covers so I am completely unplugged

  245. Hapless Bureaucrat*

    Middle management
    40 hrs/week is usual, up to 50 at crunch times. I’m able to adjust if I need to.
    Off-hours: no general expectation I will be plugged in after work/on off-days, and checking in while on vacation is actively discouraged by leadership. I will tell people to contact me on urgent matters on sick days, if I’m able, especially during crunch time. Actual contacts are rare, and mostly related to scheduling or staffing issues.
    Professional development: most training happens on company time with company resources. Degrees, certificates, etc that aren’t directly related to the position would be on my own dime and time.
    Context: people more senior to me tend to work 50 hours or so on average and will more often be available off-hours over heavy load times, especially if they have legislative-related roles. Vacation time is still sacrosanct, even in senior leadership. This varies greatly by agency.

  246. EM*

    Oil and Gas, senior manager (non-executive)
    45-60 hours per week depending on business. This is actually less than I did early in my career- as I’m more senior I’m always available for a crisis but it’s easier for me to use some downtime to run errands etc as the trust is there. I am expected to be available on annual leave for general queries and emergencies, so usually that would be around 1-2 hours a day.

    For anyone below me, 40 hours is the minimum, you’d have to be impossibility efficient to do your job in those hours. Generally annual leave is your own time though. For anyone above me I would say at least 60 hour weeks are usual, but that’s executive level.

  247. AnotherLibrarian*

    – Librarian
    – Archivist/Librarian
    – Non-Supervisory Mid-Level at a 5000 Student Campus, 3 person Special Collection Dept
    – 40-45, never more than 45
    – I check my email once a day if I am traveling for work, but I do not have my work email on my phone. If my boss needs me or some emergency happens, I can be texted. I have been twice in my seven years here. My choice to not have my email on my phone has been proactive, because if I did have it, I would check it constantly. There have been periods (during major events) that I checked my emails on the weekends. Additionally. I do work two evening shifts a month and one weekend shift a month. This is not additional time, but is just part of my scheduled hours.

  248. AnOtterMouse*

    -Public Health Research
    -Project Manager
    -Early career but sort of mid-level
    -I have no access to phone or email at night or on the weekends, and no expectations to answer anything but a true life/death/”don’t come to work because of X emergency/natural disaster” message outside of work hours
    -I work for the government on secure systems.
    Any other context you want to add

  249. Lora*

    Biotech / pharma
    Project manager / SME-ish
    Mid-level in CurrentJob, would be senior in a smaller organization though
    45 when not traveling but 70-80 when traveling. I do about 25% travel.
    The expectation is I will be available 24/7 but in real life I don’t do evenings or weekends unless someone has made special arrangements. My boss is not available 24/7 but puts in 60+ hour workweeks, his boss works more like 50 hour workweeks but is truly available 24/7 for calls and emails.
    The people who are at the top of the hierarchy definitely work stupid hours – either at startups because everyone has to do five people’s worth of work, or at big pharma because they have to be available to everyone across all the time zones.

  250. Bridget*

    Litigation Attorney
    Expected to respond on evenings and weekends if the matter is urgent – but can wait until the next morning, or Monday if it’s a more run of the mill issue. I try to really unplug on vacation, and usually only have to answer a few emails here and there.

  251. BlueWolf*

    Your field: Accounting – Law Firm
    Your job: Billing Coordinator
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Mid-Level? (6 years experience)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 37.5
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: not at all (my position does not have any access outside of office)
    Any other context you want to add: we are salaried, non-exempt and have set working hours, we can work more than 37.5 hours and get paid overtime, but I rarely need to

  252. SheLooksFamiliar*

    I’ve got 37 years in Corporate Staffing, – mostly in tech, defense, and professional services. I’m with a smaller company as Director of Talent Acquisition, a hands-on role. Previously, I held similar titles in Fortune 100 companies. My experience is pretty much the same, no matter what size of the firm: Staffing does not fit neatly into a 9-5 workday.

    Candidate and hiring manager schedules mean my team and I typically check email and make calls during the evenings and weekends. Some candidates simply cannot take calls at work. My hiring partners have packed schedules; even though hiring is important, it’s not the most important thing they have to manage. We accommodate them during the day, and emails get responses late in the day or early in the morning.

    When I’m on vacation or out of the office for personal reasons, I check email once a day; I prefer doing that, even though I usually have someone to back me up while I’m on vacay. Thankfully, I can only recall a few times when something blew up to the point that I had to derail my vacation plans.

    I average 50 hours a week, but can put in 60+ when things are busy or especially hard to sync up. This isn’t a recent thing, it’s been like this from Day 1.

  253. Finkfink*

    –Academic library
    –Systems librarian
    Hours: 40ish

    Technically I am on call 24/7 in case something goes catastrophically wrong with the library computers, but in practice anything that catastrophically wrong is nothing I can do anything about, and people call university IT instead. I have been phoned at home only once in 15 years, and the person had already called several other people, who had contacted IT, so anything I could do had already been done. Otherwise, everyone can wait until regular business hours.

    The only people who expect me to be on email after hours and on vacation are, apparently, HR. I once went on a 3-week vacation and due to a 1.78 hour discrepancy in my hours, I was emailed daily, with increasingly strident language, by an HR person who apparently didn’t realize that if I’d turned in paperwork indicating that I was going to be on vacation for a certain period of time, that I was probably on vacation during that time, and that was why I wasn’t answering my email. I don’t know what they expected me to do–take a flight home early to make up the 1.78 hours?

  254. PJH*

    Your field – Software – previously petrochemical, currently telecoms/internet connectivity
    Your job – software engineer
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior – senior – 21 years
    Average number of hours you work per week – used to be over 60, I now force it to closer to 40 most weeks (actually contracted for 37.5)
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – “Expected,” not at all, however personally emails are read on all three, but only the ones that are likely to affect my work upon return if they’re not answered by me, get answered (i.e. this is for my benefit, not theirs.)

  255. Nicki Name*

    Software development
    ~40 hours barring emergencies
    If there’s something urgent going on that needs to be addressed now, expected to stick around until it’s stable. If there’s a lot to be done with a hard deadline, expected to put in the necessary extra time to do it. This translates to staying a little late (1 hour or less) about once a month, significantly late (sometimes 3-4 hours) a couple times a year. Free to ignore e-mail and such when on vacation (but vacation is restricted at the busy time of year).

    This varies a LOT from programming job to programming job. One past job had a beeper rotation where you were on call 24/7 if it was your turn to carry it. At another one, my boss would arbitrarily declare “no one’s going home until I see X and Y done” if he felt things were behind. Some companies will consider you not a team player if you don’t spend significant time after hours hanging out having beers with co-workers. (Usually it’s the ones with a startup bro culture, though I ran into this at a big company where my manager had apparently gotten a lot of bad management advice.)

    If I were to move up to a principal/lead role, I’d expect to have to be willing to address emergencies while on vacation. They’d better be actual emergencies, though.

  256. ?*

    Construction (utilities)
    Project Manager
    Senior but I work at a 200 person company, if I were at a larger corporate company this would be a mid level position
    40-43 unless I’m traveling (about once a quarter) then it’s 50-60
    I usually check my email once around 7pm after work and maybe once a day on the weekend but only to check for any emergencies in the field. On vacation I may glance at emails once a day but only to look for things that need to get passed over to someone else. I rarely work after hours unless I’m traveling or we have the rare project catastrophe.

  257. Lorax*

    Your field: Environmental Nonprofit
    Your job: Operations and Finance Manager
    Level: Somewhere between mid and senior
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 – 45
    How plugged in: It depends. Usually not at all, but since I cover HR and finance, I do need to be somewhat available if there’s an emergency. I’ve been contacted several times on vacation over the past few years, but I don’t need to be constantly, actively monitoring anything. I do occasionally work weekends if there’s a conference or an event or a hard project deadline. I also tend to check my email over breakfast before the day “officially” starts. Sometimes I’ll take a comp day to make up, but not always. Luckily, our organization is very flexible on hours and trusts everyone to just do what needs to get done, so I feel like it all shakes out fairly in the end.
    Any other context you want to add: I think I’m a little unusual in my field, in part because my organization is mostly grant-funded and doesn’t need to do a lot of other fundraising. Other people I know who work in environmental nonprofits do much more work on weekends and after business hours. Usually this is because outreach events, fundraising events, conferences, and volunteer events are held on weekends or after business hours. Again, people tend to have a lot of hours flexibility in my area, but those whose jobs are more heavily focused on volunteer management, fundraising, or other events management tend to pull slightly higher hours than the rest of us, and the executive director is there for everything, so pulling more like 50 – 60 hours/week.

  258. I am not a Lllama*

    Database Administrator
    I’m on call 2 out of every three weeks, so there are some after hours calls, but since I’m in control of my part of the infrastructure, I’ve been able to reduce it.
    There are lot’s of times when I have to adjust my time to do after hours work .

    I am more of an outlier on the hours thing, but I’ve pretty much stood by the 40 hour rule. And it has limited some of my advancement, but I am 100 technical so that’s not really an issue.

  259. BeeGee*

    -Finance (investing)
    -Analyst and Trader
    -40 to 50
    -On vacation I am expected to check email intermittently (2-3 times a day) but it was understood that I should only need to reply or forward on to a coworker if items were time sensitive. Given the nature of the industry and being so tied to news and global events, I do spend additional hours throughout the days and on weekends reading the news because it’s vital input for being an analyst.
    – Investing industry hours really vary based on your role, company, sub-industry, and location. NYC investment bank analysts have super demanding and long hours on the job, but these are incredibly competitive positions and the culture is still “blood, sweat, and tears” mentality in these places (though for health and well being, they have been doing better at protecting weekends for junior members).

    Luckily, there are several ways you can be successful and not work in those roles or environment. However, you should still expect that in order to grow in the field that you will need to commit outside hours to studying for certifications/licenses/advanced degrees, attending client/networking events, being ready to attend to time-sensitive emails/calls.

    Based on my own experience and friends experiences (across many different roles and companies in the industry), you can almost never be 100% off, BUT you can set limits. Having healthy boundaries is vital, and communication is key! Recognize that busting your butt during and outside of work hours can be rewarding, but be sure that your efforts are reasonable and proportional to the compensation and professional growth. Be sure to have open communication with your manager about these expectations! Pay attention to how you feel, and know your limits.

  260. LawLibInTraining*

    – Legal services (corporate law)
    – Research librarian
    – Entry level
    – 40 hours per week (9-5 Mon-Fri, with 1 hour for lunch per day)
    – When I’m out of the office, I’m out. I don’t even have access to my work email remotely. I’m supposed to eventually get a work phone and will be expected to be on call one or two nights a week, but my boss hasn’t made me do that yet as I’m still too junior. (I’m more than fine with this.)

    1. LawLibInTraining*

      I do occasionally stay late if I’m working on an urgent reference question, but that’s usually on the order of an extra half hour at the office at most. It’s rare.

  261. Ann O'Nemity*

    – Nonprofit, Workforce Development
    – Vice President
    – 45 hours per week
    – Don’t check email or Slack on evenings, weekends, or vacations. Will respond to calls and texts as needed, but it’s infrequent.

    I used to work more hours and be way more plugged in, especially early in my career. Since then I’ve gotten more concerned about work-life balance and I want to set a healthy example for my team. To keep my hours down, I need to be especially productive when I am working.

  262. Mark Brendanaquitz*

    – Local Government
    – City Planner
    – Mid-level (?), my position is technical/professional in nature
    – 40 hours per week. Caveat: I have 1-4 night meetings per month depending on schedules & workload.
    – I have my email on my phone and a new laptop as my work computer, but I’m not expected to work from home. I occasionally check emails when I’m OOO for an extended period of time just to make my life easier when I’m back in the office.

  263. Live & Learn*

    Legal/Compliance (Public company)
    Compliance manager
    Mid-Level management
    usually 40, 45-50 a few times a year
    My lap top comes home with me daily but I only check email/chat occasionally in the evening and have no email/chat on my phone
    Most of my department works 50+ hours /week because most of them are attorneys, I just got lucky because I’m law adjacent but not a lawyer, my background is in policy and project/program management

  264. Jen RO*

    Technical writer and manager in a large software company
    Senior in terms of tenure (8+ years in the company), but the lowest level of management (5 levels below the CEO)
    I work 40 hours a week more or less. Sometimes I need to work overtime, but it’s usually because my lack of planning…
    I very, very rarely need to check my email outside of working hours. Once every few months I may need to send an email in the evening or log on for a few minutes on a Saturday, but no one would hold it against me if I didn’t do those things.
    My boss has never contacted me while I was om vacation, but my team members sometimes ping me for help (a few minutes at most). I specifically told them that it’s ok to do that if they are stuck on something.

    I have a pretty great work life!

  265. MP*

    Energy Industry
    IT Manager
    Mid-level – 12 years professional experience
    Rarely working in he evening or weekend. I check emails but rarely respond to them in the evening and I read the occasional management book but not much else.

  266. Social Queen*

    Field: Digital Marketing
    Job: Social Media Manager
    Hours per week: 60+
    How plugged in I am on off hours: not much at all, but I try to crush out everything I can during my long workdays. We are expected to maintain a high client load, make every deadline, and respond to everyone by EOD.
    We have had a lot of burnout in our department, which has led a lot of people to quit. And that has increased the client load for everyone on the social media team, which in turn has also made more people burn out and quit because we’re stretched so thin. Most of us are working very long days either at the office or taking things home.

  267. Murphtacular*

    Your field: Higher Education
    Your job: Coordinator of Mentor Programs
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Mid-Level (requiring 2-4 years post Master’s Degree)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 (depends on time of year – A.K.A. Orientation is a 60+ hour week)
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not unless there is a life or death emergency (working with college students, it happens)
    Any other context you want to add: I’ve been post-grad school for 6 years and for most of my positions I’ve been able to find good balance and have had supervisors in senior roles who have found a good balance. I’m not sure if it’s the fields or if I’ve been really lucky with supervisors that guard their time while still being passionate about the work.

    I think it’s also what those 50-60 hours look like. If it’s high stress and you don’t like your job that’s very different than getting in the flow and really getting a lot out of work other than the paycheck.

  268. LCH*

    Your field: Library & Archives
    Your job: Supervisory Archivist (long-term project) at a historical society
    Mid-level; I supervise a major project and two assistant archivists
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: expected: zero; i might check email if I’m out for more than 2 days (not weekends) out of curiosity. but there are many other people who could answer questions or give other assistance in my absence.

  269. Anonymousaurus Rex*

    Health care (Managed Care health plan)
    Program Manager
    Mid level (7ish years experience plus a PhD)
    Average hours per week: 40. I occasionally work overtime, but my position is pretty flexible and I try to take time for myself to compensate when this happens.
    Moderately plugged in. I have work email on my phone and do make sure I’m not needed for anything urgent outside of regular hours, but urgent needs are rare and mostly limited to certain time periods (audits) and especially if it’s a crunch time and my manager is out on PTO.

  270. Mrs. Terry Crews*

    -Nonprofit: Museum/Cultural Heritage
    -Manager of digital [actual title is a mouthful; this is the truncated version]
    -Upper mid-level [department head, higher tier, but not senior staff]
    -I will occasionally check emails after core hours and on weekends, and will respond if it’s urgent or from the director or deputy director. I also start and end my days early for childcare reasons, so I’ll normally answer emails until 5:30, even though I am home.
    -I am a salaried employee at a small-ish institution and I wear many hats, so they could legally and reasonably ask me to work more hours. However, after my partner and I burned out in previous jobs due to poor work-life balance, I’m now militant about maintaining it, as well as ensuring my staff do, too. Honestly though, I work in a museum. Unless there’s a disaster (which does happen!) and it’s all hands on deck to make sure the art is safe and accounted for, it’s okay to take a breather. Nobody is going to die because “Picasso” is misspelled on the website.

  271. Seeking Second Childhood*

    -Life-safety systems
    -Senior technical writer
    -20 years, two titles, 4 desks, 2 owners, four divisions (corporate carousel is REAL)
    -40 hours /week max because we were reclassified as non-exempt and the company doesn’t want to pay OT.
    -Minimal connectivity after hours; more before company eliminated telecommute; now it’s just the occasional reference questions when there are second-shift issues out on the manufacturing floor.
    General comment: Watch out for salaried positions at a company that has a hiring freeze while still pushing hard to “grow the business” — it will grow on your back. I know someone who was promoted to manager who has been working 60 hour weeks in a similar position because the department must take on an increased number of projects despite a severe staff reduction. (50% of the people available when those projects were initiated.)

  272. Chris*

    Metropolitan Transportation Planner
    Principal Planner
    Senior-level non-management role
    Not expected to be plugged in on evenings and weekends or on vacation.
    While the above is true the vast majority of the time, when we are doing intensive public engagement I do work more hours, many of them in the evenings, doing presentations to various groups. This only happens for a couple of months every 2-3 years though.

  273. Perpetuum Mobile*

    Oil & Gas Services
    Normally 40 hours but it can (and did in the past) shoot up to up to 60 if we have a deadline to deliver a proposal to a client. I do answer emails and take calls while off work but the emails are quick and calls are relatively rare. Flex schedule (5.30 am – 3.30 pm) is a huge help as I juggle two pre-schoolers and a long commute. Been with this company for a year and got promoted with a good raise after the first half.

  274. AliceUlf*

    – Low-income housing/social work
    – Case manager
    – Mid-level (case management, but no employees report to me)
    – 40-45 hours/week
    – No availability really expected outside of business hours
    – I’m hourly and overtime is pretty much never officially approved, but I usually put in a couple of additional hours a week because the paperwork is never. ever. done. Sometimes I need to attend community meetings or events outside of regular hours, but I would adjust my office hours to cover it. It only happens once every other month or so right now, but it might happen more often in the future. I’ve only been in this position since March.

  275. beanie gee*

    Senior Associate (one step below any form of management)
    40-45 hrs/week is typical, expectation to get the work done regardless of hours it takes to meet deadlines – for me that means maybe 4 times a year of weekend work or crazy long week.
    I’m not particularly interested in moving up in the organization since it appears that everyone above me consistently works more than 40 hours.

  276. Seifer*

    Field – Construction
    Job – Project controls engineer
    Level – Mid-level
    Hours per week – 40 hours
    Evenings/Weekends/Vacation – I’m stubborn and will only work 40 hours a week. The most I’ll do is check a few emails during the off times and take a quick call or text from my boss. I took a few meetings after hours because we work with overseas clients and with the time difference, that was really the only way, but then I was able to come in late the next day or leave early. I don’t give people my cell phone number, I don’t answer random numbers on the off chance they get it from someone else, and when I’m on vacation, my out of office says that I will have no access to email.
    Other context – I could probably move up like this, but because of the nature of the work and the fact that the people on site work 6x10s instead of 5x8s, it’d be more than likely that I’d end up having to work early Saturdays and do some work in the evenings because I’d be tied up with meetings all mornings. But… I kind of don’t want to move up. I’m ambitious, but at the same time, I don’t want the responsibility of having direct reports. I already make good money and while more wouldn’t hurt, I’m on track on earn more within the next couple of years anyway without having to move into management. So I’m good with what I have, contributing at the level that I contribute, and not being tied up in meetings every single morning.

  277. Llama Wrangler*

    Your field: Education non-profit (direct service organization)
    Your job: Program Director
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Between mid and senior
    Average number of hours you work per week: 35-40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not expected to
    Any other context you want to add: My organization is unique — colleagues in analogous roles in other organizations work much longer hours and are expected to be more on call. My organization prioritizes work-life balance but also has had some cultural issues that make people less likely to want to put in time outside of 9-5.

  278. voyager1*

    Banking (large regional)

    Analyst II

    Mid Level (non management)

    40-42hrs most weeks can get to 50

    I am on call every 5 weekends. Never on vacation.

    I would say being available after hours is very important in the areas I have worked in banking (non retail). I would say that being a go getter is generally looked favorably upon. However banking is a field that is bad about “good ole boy networks”. My present manager clearly has a favorite and being a go getter really doesn’t help in you in their view… or at least get tangible rewards, benefits, promotions. But I would say they have been an outlier in that regard.

  279. Working Mom Having It All*

    I work in the entertainment industry, where working more, being “on” more, and overall less work-life balance is expected of most mid to senior level people in general. There are some areas where that’s less the case, but in general it tends to be more of a thing. In fact last night at 9PM I got a cursory reply (“Thanks! This is helpful!”) to a non-urgent email from someone who is senior to me at work. That isn’t everyone’s style, but is common enough that I didn’t think it was way outside of the norm.

    For the record, in entertainment this gets more expected the closer you are to a creative role. For example shooting crews on films and television shows routinely work 16 hour days, on the clock, full steam ahead (not “answering the occasional email” or “in an emergency”, it’s just assumed that if it’s a Friday at 11PM, you’re at work). If you’re on a creative track at an agency, production company, studio, or network, it’s also assumed even from entry-level that you will bring work home and be available around the clock. And if you actually want to be a writer, director, or actor? Yeah there is no work-life balance, because it’s all work all the time, and you’re lucky to actually be formally hired, paid, etc. (And even then, it’s freelance and with no assumption of future work or career longevity.)

    One more thing – I’ve always assumed that, in all fields, professional development is at least partially on your own time. Whether that’s networking at happy hour, reading up in your spare time, or taking weekend courses. While you do learn on the job, and in some fields some outside professional development can happen during work hours or in conjunction with your job, I think in general it’s probably helpful to assume that you will need to do some extra work outside of your 9-5 in order to develop new skills and build new relationships.

    1. Working Mom Having It All*

      Oh, also I realized I didn’t actually answer the questions. Yikes.

      I work in television, on the studio side (so, a large in-house production facility which is part of a huge media mega-corp)

      I’m a career admin for the Business and Legal Affairs department (so, I’m basically a legal assistant for in-house counsel)

      I’m mid-level for an admin. While I don’t have any direct reports, this is very much not an entry level job.

      I work strictly 40 hours a week despite entertainment’s reputation for long hours. That said, BLA is a deeply unsexy area of the entertainment industry, in-house counsel is known for being a more laid back world than a big firm, and this is a relatively dead end job that pretty much only has work-life balance going for it.

      I don’t respond to emails after work unless it’s a very real emergency. I probably would respond to a call or a text, because that would indicate a very real emergency. But, again, my particular position is an unusual one for my field, and before I pivoted to BLA from production, I was expected to be available at all times.

      I consider myself very lucky to have the degree of work-life balance I do, and it’s something I’ve had to make real career sacrifices in order to prioritize. And even here, I know that if I were to move jobs or get promoted more than one level up the chain, I would be required to be more available in off hours.

  280. LK*

    Mental Health Clinic – Technically Non-Profit
    Mental Health Director
    Senior Level
    40 Hour per week – maybe 45 in a terrible week
    Evenings /weekends I might need to answer my phone and give a five minute answer
    I’m really lucky that most of the people I supervise – and they are legion! – work 9-5 so most of go home at 5pm and don’t need my support after hours.
    I have shot through the ranks here and while sometimes I worked odd hours – like coming in at 6am to finish a project or staying late for an important client meeting – I could usually back that time out somewhere else in the week and stay under 40 hours.

  281. Cromulent*

    – Performing Arts
    – Box Office Manager
    – Mid Level
    – Out of performance season: 35-40, During performance season 45-52ish
    – Very plugged in 24/7 during the season – I have an office and employees working during the day and then I have employees at the evening and weekend performances; if any major issues come up – which they do all the time for live performances! – I have to be available to quickly respond and troubleshoot. It’s a lot of work but it makes those 3 months when we’re dark very appreciated! Most of us don’t take vacation or time off during the season and if you do, you are still expected to be responsive over email or for a quick phone call, etc.

    1. Cromulent*

      I should add that if there is a significant hiccup – soloist cancels last minute etc. then we’re looking at a 70+ hour week, whatever/however long it takes to do damage control. Finger and toes crossed, that is only a once in a season event.

  282. No Names*

    Mining (Aggregates)

    Safety Manager

    Mid-to-Senior level – I am the only Safety Manager in my 100-person company, but our corporate has a VP above me. I have about 10 years of safety experience overall, but only 4 in the mining industry.

    ~60-65 hours/week. A few months after starting with my current company, I was told anything less than 50 hours/week was not acceptable. This includes driving time to various locations (beyond my normal commute time to the office), which can vary dramatically depending on the day. Typically, I work at least one 15 hour day each week (driving 3 hours, working on location 9 hours, and then driving back 3 hours). I was recently told that I need to increase my hours…

    I am required to be on-call pretty much all the time, except for vacations. Phone calls are infrequent, but I check emails on the evenings and weekends frequently and am expected to reply to certain, high-level emails (from my boss, a VP, or the President). I also occasionally visit locations on Saturdays, since production is active.

    I previously handled safety for a manufacturing facility and typically worked ~45 hours a week. The mining industry in general expects long hours during the production season (where I’m at, that’s March/April through November). The hourly employees at some of my locations work 12.5 hour days/6 days a week, with the occasional Sunday as well. I’ve voiced my frustration at the lack of work-life balance for all employees and the safety concerns that habitual long hours can create, but have been told I’m a being a millennial and that it is simply the way the industry works.

  283. CatCounter*

    – Public Accounting
    – CPA
    – Sometimes mid-level/sometimes senior, depending on what’s needed (we’re a small firm)
    – In the office 50 hours a week during nonbusy seasons (after tax season through end of August) but could be billing out anywhere from 10 – 40 hours. During tax season and extension season starts could be anywhere from 60 – 90 hours a week (with majority of hours being billable)
    – I’m plugged in only because it’ll reduce my burden to answer emails when I’m actually in the office so I can focus on other tasks. Some clients are more needy than others so it also depends on that.
    – I work in a small firm with about 5 people. I’m 33 and in line to take over the firm when our president retires. He’s the only “partner.” Part of the reason why I’m in the office so much is I handle a lot of the operations of the firm too. Bookkeeping for the firm, payroll, making sure bills are paid, billing, etc. We don’t have the politics of a larger firm so there’s flexibility for me to leave during the day for several hours and come back when I can. It’s more of just making sure I get my work done and clients are tended to. We don’t have a weekly/monthly/annual charge hours budget, so if I need/want to make time for something, I do, but realistically, the natural introvert in me just likes to go home and chill after work and exercise and I get plenty of that in.

  284. Anon for this*

    Academic librarian
    Check email periodically, but not expected to. Will occasionally respond depending on the circumstance. Occasionally expected to come in for evening events. Have once in awhile worked weekends.

    I have noticed some of my newer and younger colleagues are adamant that they never come in beyond stated working hours, but we are exempt here and a few of them don’t seem to get that every once in a while they will have to work a few hours outside their usual schedule. A few of them are resentful that other exempt employees leave for doctor’s appointments or occasionally come in late/leave early. I don’t know how typical this attitude is and wonder if they’re just confused about how the system works. Our new manager had to talk to at least one person about it.

  285. t*

    I’ll start by saying you shouldn’t expect to always work 60+ hours per week, but there will be times in your career where putting in the time for a relatively short time will pay off in the long run. Working 60/80/100 hours a week forever leads to burnout for most people. But doing it for a short period of time (generally working through some sort of crisis, or setting up a new team or the like) teaches you a ton and shows your commitment to the organization, which will pay off at a good company.

    – IT (healthcare)
    – Sr director of a development group
    – Senior? I work for a very large company, so it doesn’t always feel senior, but I’m at a fairly high level
    – 40-45. There is travel involved, so when I travel, that will add time to that week.
    – Generally my team handles all night/weekend issues – I only get involved if it’s serious (1-2x a year). Rarely will need to be plugged in at other times because of a major issue I need to keep tabs on. Never on vacation.
    – there does seem to be pressure to check emails nights and weekends. I see my peers do it a ton. I just don’t. My team knows how to reach me if I’m needed and I trust them to handle most of the stuff that happens in our systems. That said, it took some time to get here. I’ve been on this team for 3.5 years. The first year plus was much more of a time investment (60+ hours a week) both because I was brought in to help resolve some major issues, and I was getting to know the team and made the moves I needed to make to get it all running smoothly.

  286. SparklingStars*

    Technical Services Librarian (public library)
    No evenings or weekends unless I’m working a special event (2 or 3 times a year).
    I’m hourly so I can’t work more than 4o hours a week. Therefore I very, very rarely check e-mail when I’m not at work. My supervisor has even told me that I shouldn’t be thinking about work at all when I’m on vacation (which I totally appreciate!).
    I really have no interest in moving up the ladder: I love what I’m doing now, I have no interest in managing other people, and I have mental health issues that make it difficult for me to manage stress (and I know that holding a higher-level position would be extremely stressful for me).

  287. NotSettledOnANameHere*

    Your field: Nonprofit

    Your job: Human Resources

    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Senior

    Average number of hours you work per week: 40 on average. Around 50 for large annual events or emergencies.
    How plugged in: Very. I don’t always need to respond and will usually get texted if there’s an emergency need. I usually only check email every few days on vacation, mostly when I’m bored. I’m not good at work-life balance, however, my team is not expected to be available 24/7 and I hold their time off scared.

    I’ve worked roles where it was a 40 hours a week role maximum and ones where it was 60 hours a week minimum. Somewhere in the middle is more reasonable, but only if you prioritize taking breaks, taking care of yourself, and working in ways that minimize stress or confusion.

  288. Kate P.*

    -Paralegal/Office Manager/Bookkeeper
    -Senior (I’m the only employee, though, so I think I’d be mid-level at a big firm. I have 7 years experience and am a certified paralegal.)
    – I’m salaried, I usually work 35-40 hours a week.
    -Not plugged in at all, ever, during off time. If we have a trial to prep for we set aside the time on the weekend and that set time is the only time we have to be “on”.
    – My job is sort of niche within the industry – I work for a solo attorney and it’s just the two of us, so we create the office culture. We’ve decided that work-life balance is super important to us, so we know how many billable hours will keep us paid/keep the lights on and the office work rule is sort of…..if your work gets done and the billable goal is met, it doesn’t matter how many “actual” hours are worked.

    I will say that having worked for a big corporate litigation firm AND a medium-sized family law firm, every single work environment I’ve had has been like this re off time. I’ve been asked to work nights/weekends at the big firm, but it wasn’t often and they respected vacation time. I did work a traditional 8-5 at both of those firms, though. This is the first time i’ve had flexibility in working hours.

  289. Cookie Monster*

    Your field: banking/compliance/lending
    Your Job: Vice President
    Level: Mid to Senior, 20 yrs experience (I’m in a small place so senior here, but I suspect in a larger place I would be mid)
    Ave hours per week: 38-45
    How Plugged in: I am basically always on call-it sounds crazy, but in reality that means that I get a call after hours or on a Saturday maybe 4-5 times per year (and some of those times are when I am in my car commuting so it’s not really taking away from anything) and usually whatever comes of the call is maybe a 1/2 hours of actual work; but often it is answering a really quick question that is keeping someone else from moving forward (yippy for compliance). When I am on vacation, I do check my email but I am not necessarily expected to-if something super important comes up, they will text/call me -this is very rare. When I am sick, I sometimes end up doing work from home, but the flip side is that I don’t have to report the sick day-so I may be sick and sleeping most of the day but help someone with a 1 hour issue and then it becomes not a sick day.
    I feel incredibly lucky to be at the level I am at while also having the flexibility that I have and I really have a good work life balance. I don’t mind the occasional weekend phone call.

    1. Cookie Monster*

      Forgot to add, almost all of my hours are between 8-5 pm during week days, about half the time, if I go over that, it is at home and typically by my own choice. I very rarely work on weekends; however, because my level, I am expected to regularly volunteer for things and I forgot to count that into my time-I routinely volunteer at community events, probably about 6-8 per year and I also sit on a board that requires I attend monthly evening meetings and occasionally events.

  290. Emma*

    60-90 hours/ week
    Frequently required to travel 4-5 days/week
    Expectation of always being on call and work at off hours, ie calls with EU/Asia/Australia at midnight, 5 am or whatever their time zone is.
    Technically we have 2 weeks vacation and 2 weeks PTO but are expected not to use it

    Seeing your comments I realize my job sucks

  291. The bad guy*

    Health Insurance
    Data Analyst
    Mid level with some “team lead” responsibilities I guess
    It’s seasonal for me, 50-60+ for 6 months, ~45 for 6 months
    Almost full availability, subject matter expertise overlap is almost non existent in my department.
    In my company you can certainly climb the ladder working 45 hours a week and being real good at your job but you’ll probably make manager at 40-45 and you’ll never be a director (let alone VP). If you have upper management aspirations, you need to put in the hours early on in your career.

  292. AshOps*

    – Technology
    – Operations Manager
    – Mid Level
    – 42
    – I have Slack on my phone for emergencies but am rarely contacted (maybe once a year).

    When interviewing to move into management from an individual contributor role at my company, I asked about expectations on availability, ‘outside of work’ hours, and work/life balance. I saw other managers working many, many hours and knew that to be both happy and to produce the best work possible, I needed ‘off hours’ and a fair amount of balance. I did note in my interview that if they were looking for a manager to be ‘on’ all the time, I would not be a good fit for the role as I wouldn’t feel supported in bringing my best, and most productive, self to work.

  293. Rock Prof*

    Associate Professor of earth/environment at a teaching-focused school
    Mid-level (just got tenure last month!!!!)
    ~50 during the semesters (less during the summer, as I’m technically not paid but it’s the only time I have for research, more when it’s a crunch time: finals, proposals due, etc.)
    I’m generally expected to be responsive on evenings and weekends, and I do a little bit of work at home in the evening almost every day. I just used my first ever vacation response while I was gone for a week, but even then I responded to students who needed stuff from me, as my online class was finishing up.

    I teach a few online classes, and there’s an expectation that you’ll respond fairly quickly to that. I tend to save a lot of grading and reading to do at home, so I can focus on immediate student needs, research, and meetings while on campus. While my work and home life definitely bleed into each other, I trade that off with a lot of flexibility when I’m not needed on campus. I can work from home whenever I want, and no one cares if I schedule personal appointments during the day as long as I’m not missing classes or anything.

  294. LG*

    Financial Services
    ~45 hours but it varies based on client/project needs – I’m also on-site (out of town) with my client 80% of the week
    Weekends and evenings vary based on client needs mostly; as a consultant, some of my firm contributions (not client work but internal “extras” I take on) take up some evening time. I’ve definitely worked my share of weekends (which include 2am status calls with clients) but they’re not super frequent. Some folks choose to do more or less firm contribution as it is on top of any client work (which always comes first); this work definitely helps folks advance, build their network, etc. so it can impact your opportunities for advancement
    I worked in industry (at a large bank) before becoming a consultant and I can’t say my work/life balance was much better there (although I wasn’t traveling). I would work 80 hour weeks due to the cyclical nature of our work.
    When I take vacation, I’m usually able to be completely unplugged (and honestly, if something came up that I could help resolve more quickly, I usually don’t mind a few hours of work during a vacation). I’ve also worked on projects for engagement managers/partners who make you feel insanely guilty for taking vacation so much so that people will go years without a day off. Luckily, I’ve learned to ignore guilt trips and have a supportive leadership team now that encourages everyone to use their PTO.

  295. RoadsLady*

    Education. 1st grade teacher. I’ve been there almost 10 years.

    This one is tricky. There is lore of teachers working extensive hours, but I try to keep it close to contract hours (about 40) and more often than not manage to do so. I think teachers in the first couple of years of a very new situation may work long hours out of survival, but after that I dare say it’s usually preference.

    I know teachers who work evenings and weekends and teachers who are closer to my weeks. I’d be hard-pressed to give a true average.

    Weekends and evenings? I’m off. I don’t keep my school email on my phone, actually. We are not expected to return emails after hours and while we have a text group to get out last minute items, it’s a far cry from being expected to work.

  296. Long Time Fed*

    Security Specialist
    Mid-Level Manager
    40-45 in the office, maybe 2 hours answering phone calls and emails outside of regular hours.
    Plugged in to a point – I check my email multiple times a day on the weekend and in the evenings but don’t need to respond unless it’s an emergency. Most things can wait until the next day but there are exceptions. I take my phone but not my computer on vacation. My supervisor and subordinates will call my personal cell phone if something is truly urgent.

  297. MissDisplaced*

    – Communications / Marketing
    – Manager
    – Mid level
    – 45 on average
    – I’m generally not expected to be plugged in on weekends unless there is an emergency. (rare) Occasionally there are brief after-hours questions or needs, but not too often. Mostly this is respectful at current job, but wasn’t the case at others.
    – I’ve worked in communications or marketing at several different types if companies, so hours vary greatly. Expect long days in PR or at agencies and startups, and more normal days at manufacturing, tech, nonprofits and larger, established businesses. However, almost all businesses have a “busy season” or events where you might well pull a 60 hour week or have heavy travel. That’s fine, but always ask about that in interviews so you’re not surprised!

    1. mf*

      Replying here since we’re in the same field. My experiences are similar to yours.

      Biotech/Medical device
      Marketing Communications
      Average is 40. During busy seasons or in a crisis, 45-50.
      I’m only expected to be plugged in on evenings/weekends if there’s ongoing crisis. I do check email once per weekend just because I like to know what fires I’ll need to put on on Monday morning. I don’t check email on vacation ever.

    2. EddieSherbert*

      Also replying since it’s similar for me too.

      – Communication/Marketing
      – Communication Specialist
      – mid level
      – 40 on average, plus three weeks on call and approx. three 3-5 days travel trips for customer training/events annually (those weeks are like 80+ hours, but I usually get the Monday afterwards off).
      – I am NOT plugged in outside of work hours. I have several coworkers you can email at 2am and get a reply, but I choose not to do that and my company does not require that. Everyone has my cell number if there’s an emergency and has been very respectful of only using my cell for actual emergencies (so far anyways!).
      – my company is a multi-million dollar, international company with 1000+ employees.

  298. Sled dog mama*

    Radiation Therapy Medical Physicist
    8 years experience so mid-level
    Professional organization says ~60 is field average, my employer considers anything over 55 a safety hazard, actual hours per week varies from 38ish to 50 depending on how many patients my clinic is seeing per day, what quality checks are due that week is and some other things.
    I’m part of a group of 3, we take call but rarely get called in. We don’t have a formal call schedule but we do informally make sure one of us is always in town. We all have the ability to remotely connect to computers from home. Call policy states that when on call we must be able to be at the hospital within 2 hours of call.
    In theory on call is the only time we need to be available, in practice we answer the phone to each other and our Physicians pretty much all the time. But we are very careful about calling each other (and our MDs don’t call) unless it’s an emergency.

  299. Colleen*

    Field: Non-profit Fundraising (Performing Arts)

    Job: Events and Donor Relations

    Level: Entry to mid (this was a new position when I applied for it and while it was labeled as being entry-level, I came into it with enough experience and knowledge that I think I can be considered at the mid-level)
    # of hours per week: 40-50 depending on what events are occurring that week (i.e. Gala, opening night, etc.)

    Being plugged in: Again it depends on the time of year. Around Gala I’m plugged in A LOT in the evening and on weekends. On vacations I (and my colleagues) check in occasionally, though it is pretty much expected that your vacation time is just that.

    Other: In my current position, despite somtimes having to work weekends/evenings (or just stay late to finish up other projects) I feel I have an incredible work-life balance. But coming from my previous position (which was more junior) I know that may not be the norm. There I would sometimes work past midnight and it was expected that I still would be in on time the next day. Only one person (not my supervisor, but another supervisor on my team) ever suggested that I should come in late the morning after an event. In my current position, though, my boss always reminds me after an event that I should come in late or leave early since I had put in so much time already (this year she told me to pick a week day after the Gala to take off since it would be such a long night!)

    This is only my second full-time position so I don’t know if my former job was the anomaly or if my current job is. I know at former job the senior staff usually put in some evening work (excluding my supervisor who generally worked maybe 25 hours a week and very rarely stayed late for events), but I think at current job they do it even more frequently. They also aren’t afraid to jump in and help with tasks that are below (for lack of a better word) their duties. I sincerely hope my current job is more of what the norm is.

  300. St. Lucia*

    Professor – academia (med school) – phD PI research lab director, graduate education programs director, teach classes, advise students, etc.
    Senior level/tenured (27 years). $210K/yr salary.
    Currently I’m trying to limit my work to mostly 40-45hrs/wk, but working on many evenings and weekends is frequently still required. I recently reorganized my work life and stepped down from a few leadership positions. I’m senior and nearing retirement, which are the only reasons I’m able to do this. Previously I worked 80-100 hrs/week and was also paid far less for most of those years, but these hours were the clear expectation of this type of job.
    Email and texts- I still check and respond multiple times per day on all evenings, weekends, and vacations.

  301. AcademicSister*

    Academia (STEM)
    Associate professor
    tenured, so senior I guess – but still junior and promising in grant reviews because academia is it’s own special kind of twisted – objective;y approx. 15 years post PhD
    I work one day every weekend but unplug after 8 pm and do an e-mail free summer (3-4weeks) and xmas/new year (1-2 weeks)
    There’s a lot more focus on work life balance coming from more junior people. They rightfully point out all that is wrong with academia. That being said, science is what keeps us going so we tend to do that for fun on evenings/weekends when all of the busy work is done. I worked my ass off as a Phd student and postdoc (60+) hours, so this is the most work life balance i have had ever.

    1. Jane*

      I love academia’s twisted way of defining junior/senior and also what is knowledgeable.
      A PhD= you’re a kid and know nothing
      After two post docs = you’re a kid but know what you’re talking about
      Assistant professor = same as post doc but with political skills since got a position
      Associate professor = young and promising
      50 year old professor = young and promising
      60 year old professor = perfect age, maturity and knowledge

  302. A CAD Monkey*

    Architectural Associate (Drafter)
    Mid-Level (13+yrs)
    40-45 h/wk
    No after hours for me (the PMs and Architects here are available for emergencies)

  303. NeenieLane*

    – Museums/ nonprofit IT
    – Business Systems Manager
    – Mid-level (10+ years in field, 4 in mid-level)
    – 40-45 hours per week, occasionally up to 60 hours
    – Evening and weekend email monitoring, since we are open every day and if my systems go down we can’t do business. Rarely does anything come in that can’t wait until the next business day. Can’t fully unplug on vacations in case of emergency, but also get to write my schedule and work whatever hours I want which is helpful with a toddler. With emergencies and big projects I work 60-hour weeks maybe five times a year, although most of the extra time is spent working from home and I have purposefully been kept hourly so I do get overtime.
    With museums/ nonprofits there is a certain level of community involvement you are expected to participate in, such as attending sister organizations events occasionally or volunteering with mission aligned causes. This is pretty much a job requirement for senior level and mid-level looking to move up.

  304. badger_doc*

    Consumer Products
    Senior R&D Manager
    Senior Manager – has both mid and senior-level direct reports scientists) but no managers as direct reports. Reports to VP of R&D.
    Work on average 40-45 hrs per week if no travel
    No expectations to be plugged in but I occasionally read emails on weekends or vacation to keep track of any fires. No expectations to respond at all.
    Company dependent in my industry – we have a great work/life balance and can advance keeping that balance. However our VP does notice who gets in at 9 and who leaves by 3. As senior leaders we set examples of what good looks like, so sometimes that is 9 hour days. But we are also very family friendly and live in a small town area where it is important to take time for kids events. It’s a good balance.

  305. Autonymous*

    Your field:
    Automotive design & development
    Your job:
    Engineering Project Manager (previously Program Manager)
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that):
    Mid-level – I have budget/spending authority but no hiring/firing
    Average number of hours you work per week: 45-50+ (business trips 55+)
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation:
    Depends on the customer and project status. Most time not required but during certain phases (testing / launch / etc) you are expected to be available. If you have a European or Asian customer expect your days to shift. Asian usually require evening phone calls 1-2 nights a week for a couple of hours each. Depending on the person and project you can
    Any other context you want to add:
    Pretty much the entire automotive is more traditional in the hours expected to be 40+ and if you are in a plant you are expected to be on call. The benefit is that they pay tends to be very good on the engineering/project management side.

  306. Close Bracket*

    Engineering, defense related
    senior individual contributor
    I’m lazy AF, so 40. Also, I’m new and don’t have enough work. Others at my level, 50. 60 as you advance (I don’t know how these people stay married).
    Yeah, there’s a bit of an expectation to be plugged in outside regular hours, but for me personally bc I don’t have enough work, I am not. Others at my level, yes, for sure.

  307. Dasein9*

    Corporate Training
    Content Developer
    Entry-ish (came from another field with a doctorate, so a fair amount of autonomy and opportunity to troubleshoot)
    Not plugged in on weekends or after hours at all
    Some of my colleagues take calls at weird hours due to our being an international firm, but the work-from-home policy is very accommodating of that.

  308. Senior Technical Writer*

    My Field: Software Development for Fraud Management
    My Job: Senior Technical Writer (10+ years)

    Average number of hours I work per week: 40
    How plugged in I’m expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: As I wish – if I’m checking and answering my emails off-hours, it’s my own fault.
    Additional Information: As we get close to release dates, I might work overtime. But then, some days I’m late or have to leave early, so that’s OK because of the overtime I sometimes work. My hours aren’t managed, but my hours per week all even out.

  309. miss_chevious*

    Field: Legal
    Job: Lawyer (in-house at a big company)
    Average: 50-60
    I’m not plugged in evenings or weekends or vacations unless there are big things going on. But my company offers a lot of flexibility for lawyers, so a number of my colleagues go home early (4-5) to spend time with their kids/families and log on later at night or on weekends to finish work. I go home later (7ish) and do not log in after that. I almost never log on on weekends or vacation. I have a separate work phone for phone and email.

  310. Pennalynn Lott*

    – Retail Industry
    – Internal IT Auditor
    – Entry-ish Level (This is a 3rd career for me; so I’m new to internal audit but not new to IT or the professional world)
    – 40-50 hours per week – My company has a mandatory minimum 45-hour work week but I commute 80 miles round-trip each day so, unless there’s something urgent, I do everything in my power to keep my time in the office/on my work laptop to 40 hours. (Because of my ridiculous commute, I work from home one day a week). And I almost never travel for business, outside of the occasional trip to the Home Office.

    FWIW, our Senior Managers, Directors, and VPs easily put in 45-55 hours per week. But they also unplug completely when they’re on vacation.

    Also, external auditors — whether it’s outsourced internal audit or traditional external financial statement audit — put in 50-60 hours a week, whether or not it’s the “busy” season, and there’s usually a lot of travel (40-90%). “Busy” season puts the hours up to 70+. It’s insane.

  311. AKchic*

    It really does vary for me, but here’s some of the things I do and the levels I’m at for each of those things:

    administrator – contract worker, federal level: can be called in for emergencies, can work overtime as needed. My project manager absolutely refuses to allow either of those things to happen (they affect his bonus) so even if its necessary, I don’t get the call. There have been three times in the last year it should have happened, and he has been written up and had union grievances filed against him for creating more work in the long run by refusing to call in the proper administrative personnel during emergencies.

    actor, tech crew, props, costuming, scheduling coordinator, tech director, crowd control, food coordinator (volunteer) – overtime, on-call, so I get text messages at all hours of the day/night. Luckily, it’s only for a two week show, so I don’t have to deal with it year-round, and I can ignore messages for a while if I need to, or tell people “I am busy right now, I’ll get back to you at X time” if it’s not a dire emergency.

    board member – most of the communications are during decent hours, but a few of our members are night owls. Luckily, they are understanding of other people’s sleep schedules. Rarely is there an emergency (unless a member of our group has been doxxed – we are an activist group and dealing with a nationally known hate group).

    other assorted emergency outreach programs – I get calls and texts 24/7. I’m like a walking crisis line, but that’s another volunteer position, and I can pass that phone off to another person when I need a break. We anticipate these needs.

  312. Gene Parmesan*

    Mid level
    37.5 hrs / week most of the time. Very rare to have a week over 40 hrs, expect when traveling (5-6 times a year)
    Not expected to be plugged in at all during vacations or weekends. I sometimes will, anyways, if I know something is timely, but it is very rarely expected.

  313. The Ginger Ginger*

    Digital Ad Technology
    Agile Product Manager
    Upper Mid-Level (I don’t have direct reports, but I report up to a VP; my grandboss is the CEO)
    40 hrs/wk

    In general, I’m not expected to be plugged in off hours at all. I’ve done a couple late nights here and there, or worked later/a couple hours on the weekend to get ahead on something, but it’s been mostly at my own discretion. If I need to read industry related materials or journals or research, that’s part of my office work, not something I spend outside time on.

    A lot of this is down to the culture of my company and manager. They’re really good about promoting healthy work/life balance. If something goes awry and long hours are required, there’s generally a post-mortem to evaluate how to prevent it in the future.

  314. BetsCounts*

    -Public Accounting
    -Jr Partner, Single Office Firm
    -during busy season, 50-60 (more if I can). During non busy season, 20-40.
    -during busy season, I work-work evenings and and one day/weekend (fully available via phone & email). during non-busy season, I have networking/CPE once or twice a month in the evening and am NOT available via phone or email. On vacation, I check email about once a day.

    1. BetsCounts*

      forgot to add, when I was a manager with a national firm, I probably worked 10-15 hours more per week, and typically had one evening networking event per week.

  315. robot*

    Field: Software
    Job: Engineer
    Level: Mid-level (eight years experience)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 35-45, depending on scheduling

    I work on a web product that is up and available to global users at all times. On my team, we used to have an explicit oncall rotation where you were carrying a pager and had clear response time guidelines (<30min to keyboard), and you were compensated for hours outside of standard business hours oncall. Now we have another team that handles those pages, and our team is just backup, so you're backup for a week and that's a best-effort thing and you're not additionally compensated. If something breaks that's user-visible and I'm the backup and get contacted, I will drop everything, and work as long as possible to fix it but that's relatively rare (2-4 times a year, outside of business hours). Also, if I were working trying to fix a breakage until midnight, showing up late the next day would be completely understood by the team. Most shifts we don't get contacted at all, much less for a major issue. Occasionally I work late, but it's generally at my own discretion, like "I'm really on a roll here and I want to get x completed before I leave."

    Some senior engineers work longer hours by choice, but it's certainly not all of them. Plenty of the successful members of my team work strict 40 hour weeks, including my manager.

    1. robot*

      Oh: also, for major launches, you might also monitor over the weekends, but in general, it’s expected that everything’s been set up in such a way that it 1. works first time or a problem is easily detectable so it can be rolled back 2. you don’t start a launch Friday evening at 5pm.

  316. I Have All Of The Questions*

    Funeral Service
    Human Resources Director
    Mid-Level but like someone above I am a department of one so kinda senior?
    50-55 on a good/slow week.
    Very plugged in. I’ve had to leave movies over WC stuff and have been called in on vacations.
    In all my other fields I haven’t been this plugged in but funeral life is soooooo different. And anytime payroll is involved I have no outside life on Sunday nights or sometimes Friday nights.

  317. Stavia*

    – Technology
    – Mid-level (25 years of experience, but in a corner of tech that’s not well compensated and has no mobility)
    – I work about 50 hours a week
    – I am absolutely expected to be plugged in on weekends—I’m the only FTE on my team and thus the only one who can answer after hours emails and respond to emergencies. Vacations….I have no idea yet, but generally in other roles I’ve been expected to be at least somewhat available on vacations.
    – Don’t go into tech if you value work/life balance. A lot of my colleagues with partners and kids struggle a -lot-.

  318. RavenclawShorts*

    Field: Oil & Gas – Repair Services
    Job: Project Manager
    Mid-level I guess.. individual contributor but not entry level
    Hours per week: 50+
    Expected to be available at all times. Some vacations can get coverage but still expected to answer the phone
    How plugged in I need to be and how many hours I need to work depends on the client’s expectations. If they have an outage then it is much higher than when they dont’.

  319. NW Mossy*

    Here’s mine:

    Financial Services
    Mid-level – I’m a front-line leader with 13 direct reports, who are all senior individual contributors
    40 hours
    I’m almost never connected outside of normal work hours – 3-5 times a year max

    My situation is probably atypical for my industry and role, and I’m able to keep this balance through several factors:

    – Location. I’m in the Pacific Northwest, which isn’t a financial services hub and culturally less interested in late-stage chew-’em-up capitalism (if you’re not in tech).
    – Employer. I work for a company that cares a lot about work-life balance, and the leadership walks the talk. My boss and grandboss never email or call out of hours unless it’s a business continuity issue (building closure, weather), and I do the same with my own employees.
    – Personal stance. I’m of the belief that work is a gas – it expands to fill the space it’s given. When I start padding out my day with extra hours out of the office, I’m less productive when I’m in because it makes it seem as though it’s fine to procrastinate. By keeping to rigid hours, it forces me to be more disciplined about how I use my time, which actually leads me to getting more done rather than less.

  320. Staja*

    Title: Commission Analyst (Software Industry)
    I’m usually in the office 40-45 hours/week, but depending on where we are in our payroll cycle, I have more or less to do. I am not regularly expected to be available nights and weekends, but during quarter-end and year-end, we do have to sometimes put in a few more hours or a weekend day. However, when I do work the extra hours, I can take comp time to make up for it.

  321. BossLady*

    -State Government
    -Policy Office
    -Paid for 40, work 50 to 60
    -Routinely expected to answer emails, texts phone calls in the evenings/vacations unless I make it clear that I cannot for a specific reason. Not typically on weekends.

  322. sara*

    Software product company (not a start-up, not an agency)
    Software Developer
    45-50 h/wk on average
    Very rarely I’ve had to work on a weekend to deal with a major bug or emergency, or stay a couple hours late to meet a deadline. I regularly work on learning new tech or on side projects in the hours outside work, but at least in my company the expectations are that you average around 40h/week. Like a said above, I work at a SaaS (software-as-a-service) company that’s well established. I know if I had the same level of responsibility at consulting company, agency, start-up, or even some other product companies, my hours could easily be double what I work now.

    1. sara*

      And there’s no expectation to be available on vacation, but have I think once or twice had a phone call to answer a quick question, but if I hadn’t answered/been available, there wouldn’t have been any issues or repercussions.

  323. Identifying Details*

    I’ve had very different experiences with this in two roles that look very similar on paper — same organization, same pay grade, some official number of hours to work.

    Field: nonprofit, youth-serving

    Jobs: Job A, community-based program manager with full-time direct reports who set their own schedules vs Job B, childcare program manager with part-time direct reports who work set shifts

    Level: mid level organization-wise, but still hourly/non-exempt in pay

    Hours: 40, period. (absolutely no overtime allowed in Job A, highly discouraged and pretty infrequent in Job B)

    How Plugged In: Job A, not at all. I had weekends, evenings, and vacation entirely free of worrying about work. Job B, however, I’m pretty much on call 24/7. Weekends, evenings, I’m the ultimate backup coverage any time the program is running, which is 7 days a week, 6-12 hours a day. I never stop getting texts and scheduling messages from my team. I’ve quit all my hobbies that rely on a set schedule because I just can’t ever guarantee I’ll be able to be there. It’s been a struggle to get time off for all my major religious holidays since I’ve taken the job. I don’t make plans with friends more than two days in advance, which means I don’t often make plans with friends. I managed to take two solid weeks off this summer and still got texted about someone’s resignation the second day of my vacation, which was… not awesome. I am burning out HARD and will probably white-knuckle it through two years and then run like my ass is on fire. (Just 11 months to go!)

  324. LSP*

    – Government Contractor
    – Project Manager
    – Mid-level, 10 years specific experience in this profession (15 years professional experience)
    – 40 hrs/wk
    – Only under very specific circumstances will I have to check work email on evenings or weekends, and that happens maybe 1-2 times a year
    – I have been at my current position for 4.5 years, and my manager and I are working on a plan for me to advance to a more senior position this year or next. Mine is a relatively small firm, so there’s not a ton of room for advancement to begin with, so it’s not unusual for advancement through the ranks to take some time. My manager and her manager are upper level, and work 50-60 hours per week regularly, and sometimes more than that. However, one of the things they spend most of that time over 40 hours doing is business development, something they are looking to training more people on (myself included) so they can lessen the need for them to work such outrageous hours.

  325. Ahoytheship*

    -IT Business Analyst
    -High-level individual contributor
    -Typically no more than 40 hours per week, unless we’re in the middle of a project with an impending deadline, or there is some sort of incident outage we are fixing
    -I am not expected to be plugged in at all outside of work/on PTO, unless I am helping to manage out-of-hours software releases, which for me occur maybe once a month or so, for a few hours at a pop

  326. ten-four*

    Field: Digital Consultancy (we build websites)
    Job: Director
    Level: I’m two levels down from the CEO
    Hours: 40, with rare exceptions for crisis
    Plugged in: Not at all – the company is very particular about PTO being PTO, and there is no expectation of evening/weekend work.

  327. rj*

    Your field: higher ed
    job: assistant professor (humanities)
    going up for tenure next year and well known in my subfield
    I work around 45-50. I refuse to answer emails after 6 pm or before 9 am from students or work colleagues, but sometimes do early mornings for research projects. I also work in the summer even though I’m not paid. My current job is very reasonable about email expectations, my last job was not.
    I want to work elsewhere so I also do more work to try and make that happen.

  328. The Rat-Catcher*

    State social work agency
    40 with exceptions only a couple times a year, and only for a few hours
    There is zero expectation that I am available when not working. I will occasionally get calls, but there are no repercussions if I do not answer. Vacations are pretty sacred and only people with “director” in their title can ever expect to be bothered on vacations. I do occasionally rack up extra hours due to travel, but those are planned well in advance and flex time is utilized when possible. With having two small children and being in school, this flexibility has really been the number one thing keeping me at my agency.

  329. Claribel*

    Your field: Publishing
    Your job: Editorial staff, mid-level
    Average number of hours you work per week: 35-40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: not at all
    Any other context you want to add: some experts and senior managers (or team leaders if they have a demanding senior manager) are expected to work more and be contactable out of hours, but work-life balance is generally ok for lower level staff. When people are at conferences the hours are a lot longer but that’s a) expected and b) Compensated

  330. RedinSC*

    – Fund raising
    -Non profit (social service agency)
    – VP level
    -typically 40-45 hours, but in the busiest season it can be up to 70 on occasion.
    -the evening/weekend stuff is really for networking and fundraising events. I will respond to texts from donors or board members in the evening or weekend, but typically if something comes in, it’s a quick to handle thing.
    -When on vacation I unplug completely. I do not respond to emails or answer calls. The longest I’ve been gone is about 2.5 weeks.
    -The evening/weekend work is actually across the board. All my staff from the entry level to the managers on the team participate in these. The majority of them do work some flex time because of it, however, in the busy season, that’s less, but in CA we do pay over time for the non-exempt staff when they work longer than 8 hours a day or 40 in a week. Because of that, the management staff will have to pick up some of the work entry level does in order to keep to our budgets.
    -I would say if you’re in fund raising or non profit management you will need to put in evening or weekend work, but also, the flex time is also typically there. This is my experience from different non profits and a university. (for example, tonight I will be going to a mixer until about 7pm, so I came in to work at 9:30am)

  331. H.C.*

    1. Local Government
    2. Public Relations / Communications
    3. Mid-level specialist
    4. 40-45 (on a 9/80 schedule that lets me take every other Monday off)
    5. Rarely unless during emergencies and special events; <10 days out of the year (& we get comp time off if we do work outside normal hours)

    1. H.C.*

      To further clarify, I do make myself available by text as needed (and will respond if I can quickly answer it) – but that’s also a rarity (outside of emergencies) too.

  332. WorkingInMusic*

    -Marketing Coordinator (essentially)- entry/mid level
    -40 hrs/ wk- I’m paid hourly and my boss doesn’t want to pay overtime, so it’s rare (like, mayyybe once in 2.5 years?) that we’re slammed enough he’ll pay an hour or two of OT
    -I’m not plugged in, or expected to be plugged in, outside work hours. I don’t have my work email on my phone, and I don’t check it on evenings, weekends, holidays, or if I’m on vacation. Occasionally my boss or a coworker will text me if I’m OOO and they (for example) need my computer password to see a document. I’ve never had to handle a work emergency outside normal hours because those situations just don’t really happen in what we do- clients may email with questions after hours but I handle it 9am the next day. I have a lot of frustrations about my job but I LOVE having such a great work-life balance.

  333. Gumby*

    Scientific R&D
    Project Manager (ish – I work closely with PIs who do a lot of the technical side of it)
    Not at all in the normal course of things.

    Internet / Software
    QA Manager
    Weekends were generally work-free but the weekly phone meetings with some support staff who were located half-way around the world drove me bonkers. They always happened at either 10:30 or 11:30 p.m. my time. Plus the occasional 2 a.m. call because something went wrong on the web site that they couldn’t figure out on their own. Ugh. I am not cut out for that sort of thing. I admire people who are, but have no desire to build that skill set myself.

  334. Llellayena*

    My company is NOT typical of my industry:
    -Project Architect (mid-level, currently running a project with a team under me)
    -40hrs per week (OT must be approved in advance) – sometimes runs an hour or 2 over on the week but it’s rare to need more than that
    -Rarely check email outside of work unless I’m anxiously awaiting something. Will check once a day while on vacation but will mostly not respond until I’m back.

    My company is very supportive of work/life balance and will encourage time off/leaving early if you’re starting to look burned out. (We are hiring…)

  335. The Other Dawn*

    -BSA Officer
    -Senior level
    -42-45 hours is the average for me
    -I don’t need to be plugged in after hours or on weekends or vacations, though I may check my email occasionally to avoid the avalanche when I get back. Not required or expected, though.
    -In my area of banking, there typically aren’t any money laundering emergencies or things that come up outside of working hours, so it’s pretty much an 8 to 5 job (or less) unless I’m preparing for an audit or regulatory exam. I may do some research in my off hours if I feel like it, but it’s not really expected or required.

  336. Another anon for this*

    Your field: Legal (state government)
    Your job: Staff attorney for an agency
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Entry/mid-level (one of the newest attorneys in the department, but have worked in state government for about 7 years total)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Zero, not at all, never (this is true for all the attorneys in my department, at all levels).
    Any other context you want to add: I left another state government law job for this because of the truly excellent work life balance. Not all state government law jobs are this good.

  337. L*

    – Consumer Goods – E-commerce + Manufacturing
    – Operation Manager, Senior Level, albeit at a very tiny company.
    – 35-40, but could be up to 60 during a week with a tradeshow or really high demand (holiday season, etc).
    – I am not expected to be regularly plugged in after 5 PM or on weekends unless there is something crazy, crazy urgent (this has maybe happened twice?) I am also not expected to be plugged in on vacations, but I have made the choice to check emails or do a bit of work if I feel the need. Again, I might be working later days or weekends for trade shows/events a few times a year. I have also worked a few weekends over the holiday season to help our production team meet demand. Again – we are a very tiny team so sometimes our work calls for all hands on deck.
    – My boss is a big proponent of work/life balance, so there are times when I have worked late or worked on vacation and been told/reminded that it is not necessary. I think it’s really important you find a manager and company that has the same work/life balance ideals that you have!

    1. L*

      Additionally – my boss is very good at providing comp time if I do work a weekend event! So it all “evens out”. I am very lucky.

  338. SummerShandy*

    I work at a small (60 employees) software company owned by a large international company
    HR Manager (head of local HR)
    I’m the main HR person locally, but I report to a Sr VP at the corporate office
    40 hours a week is my average
    I have a company phone with email and Slack that I have on me most of the time. I rarely get anything urgent after hours or on the weekends. My last vacation I had to do a little bit of work in the mornings and I answered questions my direct report had, but it was minimal. I’ve only rarely had to work weekends (last year when we were doing a big lay off I had to work all day on a Saturday to prep when the office was closed). My local boss (his title is President) is respectful of vacations and won’t reach out too often. Most of the time if people reach out to me after hours I’ll reply in the morning when I get in and it’s never been an issue.
    My boss (Sr VP HR) works all the time, but I’ve come to realize that it’s more of her personality than a requirement. Some of her other direct reports (Sr Managers and Managers) work similar hours to her, but I’ve never felt that I’m held back or looked at differently only working during office hours. I’m also a single parent and when I’m with my child I don’t look at my work phone and it’s never been brought up as an issue.

  339. Librarian1*

    -Library and Information Services
    -It’s not technically entry-level, but it’s just one level up.
    -Not expected to be plugged in at all
    -I work in special libraries and my library is part of a nonprofit org, so I work normal business hours (this is usually not the case for people who work in public or academic libraries). Full-time here is 37.5 hrs/week. I’m low enough that I’m non-exempt and my org never wants to pay overtime, so I never have to work overtime. It also means that I don’t have to be on call.
    -It’s really difficult to make generalizations about this field just because it’s so broad and there are a ton of different types of jobs and work environments. As I said above, public and academic librarians often have evening and/or weekend hours and different settings might have different hours depending on who you’re serving.

  340. Squab*

    Software engineer
    “Senior”, as in my title is Senior and I’m 12 years into my career
    35 hrs/week
    Not plugged in at all

    I work at a very large, very competitive tech company. I showed up pregnant, had a kid, got promoted, and am working on kid number two. We have the luxury of being evaluated based on our output (insofar as it’s possible to do so) and not on things like hours-in-seat. That means that I’ve been able to work fewer than 40 hours a week and still kill it here.

    There are tradeoffs, of course! I could have gotten promoted faster/to a higher level if I had been working nights and weekends, possibly. But I’m a productive, respected member of this company as-is, and I’m very happy with that.

  341. Alex*

    Your field – Automotive
    Your job – Product Engineering
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior – Entry-level (3 yrs in this job, part time co-op prior to that)
    Average number of hours you work per week – 40-45
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – have my work phone with me but only have to reply to text/voicemail, can ignore calls and emails
    Any other context you want to add – The job is very cyclical. Right now 40 is more than enough hours to cover my work, a month ago I had a few 45-50s. In a few months it can go back to 50 and maybe even full days on weekends.

  342. New Job So Much Better*

    Mortgage Banking
    Product Support
    No expectations of evening or weekend contact.
    I do have a laptop to work from home in bad weather if the office closes. I do get comp time for that.

  343. PB*

    Libraries (academic)
    Mid-level, tenure track
    40 hours a week, almost always. On rare occasions, I may work another hour or two to hit a deadline, but that’s maybe 2-3 timescale per year.
    Work doesn’t really expect me to be connected off the clock. I tend to check my email once in the evening and maybe once a day on vacation, mostly to avoid looking at my inbox and screaming the next morning.

    However, as I advance and take on more national-level service, that work generally needs me more connected. I have a leadership role at the national level. Decisions sometimes need to be made quickly, and my committee spans 9 time zones, so things can happen at unexpected times. This isn’t a huge burden, but it does keep me a little more tethered to my email than I used to be.

  344. MoopySwarpet*

    — Wholesale/Manufacturing – Food/Beverage (the sales and marketing arm, so not part of the production facility)
    — Operations Manager
    — Senior – but we’re a micro size company so job descriptions/levels are sometimes fuzzy – probably upper mid-level at a large company
    — 35-45 hours
    — How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – Not at all/minimally*
    * It really depends on what is going on. Generally speaking, the expectation is to unplug. If my boss ever calls after hours there is profuse apology “for disturbing me on my cell” prior to whatever actual urgent thing is going on. It’s happened only a handful of times in the last 10+ years. I put more pressure on myself than anyone else does. I rarely respond to emails when I’m off work, but I will at least glance at them. Mostly to clear out the spam and forward anything urgent because I hate using out of office replies. We occasionally have large projects that need my input or attention while I’m out of the office, but I usually know in advance to keep an eye out for them.

  345. People like shiny things*

    -Office (& staff) manager
    -40-42 hrs/week
    -some being plugged in. I am responsible for taking calls when a staff member is out and finding coverage. Not everyday or every week, but I may get calls over the weekend 1x a month-ish, or at 6am 1x a week, that needed to be handled. I find I check my email 1x a weekend. 1x a day during vacation.

  346. Jules the 3rd*

    – Manufacturing config to order
    – Procurement
    – Mid-level (maybe SME level – I have written the training docs / trained people on our procurement processes)
    – 45 hrs but highly variable. 40hrs at the beginning of the quarter, 50 – 60 in peak weeks (2 – 3 per quarter)
    – plugged in evening/weekends at peak weeks, not plugged in the rest; schedule vacations for non-peak

    My counterparts in transportation have similar schedules, offset from mine by the manufacturing time (ie, my peak weeks are as we’re bringing in key parts, theirs are after manufacture / test are done).

  347. Anon for this one*

    – BioTech/BioPharma
    – Software Training/Technical Writing
    – I’m mid-level in terms of position, but I’ve been in this field for over 20 years and in this industry for over 18 years.
    – 40-45
    – I’m not expected to be available on evenings and weekends, but I check my email and calendar every night before I set my alarm because normally I come in late and leave late. Occasionally my manager will text me for something urgent.
    -The company culture is that everyone should have a good work/life balance, and on my team, we all have a back-up, so while some people can’t both be out on the same day, everyone can take the time off that they need. If you need time off for appointments, you take it, as long as the work is getting done and deadlines are being met.

  348. Jenny2*

    Your field: Higher ed/IT
    Your job: Instructional Tech
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Senior
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: If faculty need me on weekends/evenings I answer but not if I’m on vacation.

    Honestly I don’t know if departmental culture has changed since I joined or if I just don’t care or can’t read cues, but some co-workers seem to believe there is an expectation of working overtime and being constantly available. I just don’t do it, get my work done, and still get good evaluations. Our work is highly individualized (we do little as a team) and I think that can lead to a lot of performative work, declaring you’re so busy, heavy sighing, and such. My direct supervisor will work 60 hours a week but their supervisor works 40, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    If I’m on a deadline I’m way more likely to just hole up during my 40 hour work week than work overtime. I will work overtime if needed but I try to make it so I don’t have to.

  349. Quitting Soon*

    Nonprofit (Science-related)
    Program Director – really primarily project management
    Entry-level (advanced degree and 2 years experience)
    Went from 50-60 to 40-50
    Most of the time no expectations on out of work time, during some parts of project cycles that changes

    1. Quitting Soon*

      Oh, forgot to add I do travel for work a few times a year, which is essentially working full time for a few days to a week. I get additional vacation days for any weekend days I travel.

  350. processengr*

    – manufacturing
    – process engineer
    – entry level
    – 50-60
    – plugged in 24/7 via company cell phone. On call for my manufacturing line at all times, the plant runs 3 shifts, 7 days a week. Frequently get troubleshooting calls. Usually can solve over the phone but a few times have to make a trip in to solve. Frequently have to stay later than planned or come in at short notice at all hours to run manufacturing tests that are at the will of an extremely unpredictable production schedule. Sometimes I escape early on Fridays (2pm ish)
    Can unplug during vacation.

  351. DK*

    State government – community supervision
    I am required to work 37.5 hours per week and typically work about that many.
    I’m expected to answer my phone evenings and weekends- I won’t get into trouble if I miss a call, but some of my peers have a reputation for never answering outside of business hours. and it’s not a good reputation ot have.I typically get a phone call every six weeks or so – it’s not an everyday thing and the calls I get are mostly from my staff, not people above me. I’m not expected to be available while I’m on vacation, as I’ve arranged for someone to cover for me.
    I do actually check email on vacation if I have access, because sometimes I can answer a question quickly and because I don’t want to come back to 500 emails – but I’m not required to .

  352. Margaery Tyrell*

    * Tech/eCommerce
    * Graphic & Web Designer
    * Mid-level? Past entry-level, but still junior-mid.
    * 40-45 hrs/wk
    * Very, very rarely. In my current job I’ve had to stay late maybe 3 times in 3 years.
    * I do think it depends on the job – some of my coworkers do have to work late or on weekends. I just don’t have to in my role. :/

  353. GCM*

    Higher Ed Research Administration
    International Grants and Contracts Manager
    Most weeks about 35-40 hours of work with the occasional 50-60 hour work week, but we have to be in our offices 40 hours even if we don’t have that much work. Professional development (as approved by managers) is considered part of the work week. And there’s an expectation to be available via phone/email while on vacation but usually on a limited scale.

  354. ScienceProgram Manager*

    Science non-profit
    Program manager
    Mid-level (~10 years experience in the field, supervise a team of ~6)
    I’m not expected to be plugged in on the weekend or evenings, but I have been asked by management to work more hours regularly. I am seen as a high performer, but I’m aware that only working 40 hours/week means I cannot progress any higher and this stance is concerning to leadership.

  355. Not A Morning Person*

    This is a link to a blog where the writer goes into great detail about pay and work hours to propose that most jobs make about the same amount PER HOUR. It’s just that some professions expect crazy amounts of hours.
    It’s an interesting read and may have some relevance to work life balance and the trade offs people make.
    It reminds me of an anecdote about the first day of med school where a professor shares a photo of a young man on the beach relaxing in a lounge chair with a cold drink. The professor says to the new med students. “If you work hard here at school and at your career, in a few years, this could be your son.”

  356. Sarra*

    market research/consulting
    lower mid-level (but doing the duties of a mid-level)
    keep getting TOLD that we should have better work-life balance, but the workload is such that I haven’t worked less than 50+ hours/week in months. Every week there’s at least one day where I’m working until 11 PM.
    people in this office burn out and leave at a spectacular rate.

  357. Jules the 3rd*

    Also, to answer for a friend of mine:
    Registered Nurse (RN), hospital (non-ER)
    Mid-level (10 years experience, trains others)
    38 – 40 hours (3 12-hr shifts / week + 30 minute hand off + occasional staff meetings / training sessions)
    Not plugged in at all. May get a call about covering a shift, but no problem if you don’t answer or say no.

    Required recertification can be part of the 40 hours but is more likely to be on top of it. Ongoing education (eg, RN -> BSN) is definitely on top of existing hours.

    1. DukeOfPearl*

      I wish we had an equivalent saying for “Thank you for your service” for nurses. Nurses are the closest thing we have in the real world to super heroes.

  358. PCE*

    Clinical Operations
    Mid-level-no direct reports
    40 (occasionally 1-2 hours in evening or early morning, 1x/month)
    occasional call after hours
    I’ve made it clear that I cannot be available all the time and have limit hours I an be in the office. This is partially due to having young kinds, and mostly because I do not “work to live”. This has DEFINITELY slowed my career advancement, but it’s something I’ve come to terms with and have been upfront about with management. I do not want direct reports and do not want to work more hours.

    1. Spreadsheets*

      Curious if you work for a Sponsor or CRO? I find that makes a lot of difference!

  359. Raia*

    Health Tech
    Business analyst
    Entry level +1
    Occasionally goes up from 40, but I assume this will subside with more experienced on the programs.

  360. Corporate Slave*

    Field: Technical Communication
    Position: Senior Technical Writer
    Level: senior
    Average hours per week: 50-60
    Plugged-innedness: rarely expected to stay plugged in outside normal work hours
    Context: I recently changed companies and am trying to learn several new technologies at lightning speed, not only to do my own work, but also to serve as technical support for my entire team. This requires spending non-work hours to learn these technologies.
    Attitude/philosophy: my first job out of grad school was with a Big 8 firm, where 70, 80, and even 90 hour weeks were common and expected. Even if I work only 60 hours a week now, I feel guilty and like I am not doing enough.

    1. Skeeder Jones*

      Having been a tech writer (and even now have to do some of that in my current role as instructional designer, I’m wondering with technologies you are learning. Pure curiosity.

  361. Anon4This*

    Industry: Legal (BigLaw)
    Job/level: Law firm administrator (upper management), oversee a non-attorney team of about 40 people
    Hours worked per week: Official workweek is 37.5, actual work week is at least 50, often more
    On-call expectations: Expected to be available most of the time and check email regularly, including nights, holidays, weekends, and vacation – as one of our senior partners likes to remind everyone, it’s a client-service business, and if the client can’t reach you, they’ll call someone else.
    Any other context you want to add: The pay is commensurate with the pain, and I plan to make a downshifting career move once my kids’ college and my retirement is appropriately funded.

  362. Julia J*

    Interior Design
    Depending on the needs of the project, I regularly work evenings & weekends throughout the year in order to meet tight deadlines. Sometimes this time is comped, and we have Summer Fridays off. This is expected in the field in my experience as a junior – mid level designer, and I see it with many senior designers as well. Vacations are sacred, but they are often limited.
    I’m 31, Living in NYC

  363. Tessa Ryan*

    Field: Nonprofit
    Title: Communications Manager
    Mid-Level but I started here at Entry-Level
    35-40 hours (sometimes 40-45 during peak season)

    I moderate our social media, so sometimes spend a couple of hours working at home. If I’m on vacation, I respond to emergency emails. I used to have a very poor work/life balance when I first started. I was stretched pretty thin and wearing many hats since we didn’t have as many employees. Back then I never took sick days (unless I was literally dying), worked long hours (often 50-55 hours a week) and I almost always worked on the weekend.

    As I’ve grown at this nonprofit, I’ve gotten better at delegating and managing my time efficiently so I’m not working crazy hours. It helps that we’ve hired more employees and I don’t have to run around to get 101 tasks completed each week.

  364. Jess*

    -Usually I work 35-40 hours a week, but really varies. I have worked as low as 20 hours a week and as high as 90.
    -I am generally not expected to be plugged in on evenings, weekends, or vacations, unless I need to do something only I can do (approve a bank transfer or participate in a conference call–and that’s if I volunteered my availability during that time). But there are times where I’m expected to work nights/weekends for events (common in nonprofits).
    -I also help my employees who work long hours by adjusting expectations and schedules. I always let them know that they shouldn’t ever feel like they have to send emails at 3 am, usually by responding to their emails also at 3 am. This is because I am a hypocrite and a glutton for punishment who compulsively checks my emails on evenings, weekends, and vacation voluntarily.

  365. Bananana*

    Food Manufacturing
    QA Manager
    Senior-level at my site. Mid-level within the whole company.
    Mostly 45ish hours/week. Rarely as many as 70 during special projects or emergencies.
    I have my work email on my phone, but don’t get many emails, texts, or calls during off hours and don’t feel pressured to respond unless it’s an emergency.

  366. Audra*

    Tech writer
    Usually 40, sometimes 45 or more. There have been times when it’s less, too.
    I’m always plugged in, no matter the time. I feel the pressure to be 100% available because I work remotely.
    Most of my managers have no work/life balance. The owner of the company is always thinking about work.

    1. Audra*

      We are also a small company and relatively understaffed for what we do, so there is an expectation to sometimes do *more*

    2. Corporate Slave*

      Hi Audra – I’m also a tech writer working remotely until I can sell my house and relocate. I do believe that working remotely adds to the need to work more/harder so managers and coworkers know you aren’t sitting around eating bon-bons and watching cat videos.

      1. Skeeder Jones*

        In my department, we are all remote workers. I started as a tech writer working on a software deployment and now I’m an instructional designer. Our manager is really great about letting us get our work done and not worrying about how many hours we clock (specifically as exempt employees) and is more likely to be concerned with me working too much than too little. It’s easy to develop bad habits of “just checking email really quick” in off hours when working remotely. When I was doing the tech writing, I had to work a ton just to meet our deadline for implementation and everyone wished I didn’t have to work so hard or so much but also that there wasn’t any other way to get the work done as bringing in a 2nd writer at that point would have caused more problems than it would have fixed.

        I do realize that my experience with my manager can be compromised by the fact that I have always exceeded my deadlines, always do more than expected and can usually be found at my desk more than my work hours so she doesn’t have to babysit me. I probably am overly concerned with making sure my work ethic is never questioned. But outside of standard work hours, there is very little expectation we will be available.

  367. The Dig*

    Field: Archaeology

    Job: Field archaeologist

    Level: Entry-level

    Hours worked; Theoretically 35h, but we do 30-45min unpaid overtime most days, so closer to 40h.

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: At my level, I’m not expected to be “on call” or working at all on evenings or weekends. HOWEVER, in my field, moving up from an entry-level position is tough, depends mostly on luck, but also on how much you’re willing to invest yourself in the work outside of working hours. It’s not a good culture. Older people in the field tell us to not get suckered like they did into an unhealthy personal/work-life balance, but the reality is that that is the only way (besides, as I said, sheer luck) to move up from a technician position. This investment comes in the form of doing object studies (ex. studying the ceramics of a site) for free, getting into a PhD without having a scholarship (guilty of that), doing stuff like photogrammetry during the weekends, staying late to finish something…. It’s really unhealthy, but everyone does it, or they just stay at entry-level until they’re 35-40, still a contract worker, and their bodies are too broken from years of field work, so they change careers.

    It’s still a super cool job, and I love it, but the working conditions, at least in my country, are utter garbage.

    1. Archaeology*

      Field: Archaeology

      Job: Field supervisor/Assistant Project Manager

      Level: Mid-level

      Avg hours/week: About 55. It is project-focused work, though, so sometimes 40 and sometimes 80. The longest day I have worked is about 18 hours and the longest I have worked without a day off is about 3 months. I have also spent months at a time working only 40 hours/week, though.

      Plugged in on evenings/weekends?: Depends on the project manager to some extent, but when a project is going, I am generally expected to be available all the time. Been called to a meeting in the field at 10pm, have even still been doing fieldwork at 10pm, have still been in my office writing a report at 11pm, not too rare to get emails at 3am. It can be insane.

      Plugged in on vacations?: Rarely. However, I have been asked to cancel multiple vacations. I hardly even try anymore. Basic things like doctor visits also get put off all the time. This is partially due to the nature of the work and the amount of travel involved. Last year I spent exactly 14 days at home in a 10-month span (worked weekends, worked holidays). If that had been the pre-planned schedule that would be one thing, but it wasn’t. Things just kept coming up. Instead of going home after the planned two months, I just flew directly from project to project. The 14 days at home were also random so I couldn’t really even plan those.

      I can echo pretty much everything The Dig said above. It truly is the culture that you either work insane hours (often for no additional compensation) or you remain entry-level for your entire career.
      The only thing I would note is that I don’t think luck often moves people up the chain, at least not in my area. However, luck is almost the only factor in getting a full-time job. There are full-time techs, and that is 90% good luck. There are also temporary/part time supervisors, and that is 90% bad luck.

  368. Idigflowers*

    Your field: Education
    Your job: Teacher
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Senior, I have over 25 years experience, mentor other teachers, lead inservices, and hold advanced degrees
    Average number of hours you work per week: 50+
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: In my district, I am expected to be available 24/7 and days off/days schoolis not in session. I am to check my email frenquently, even after hours, and give parents my phone number.
    Any other context you want to add

    1. RoadsLady*

      Are you paid to be available so often?

      I know a lot of districts discourage personal phone numbers to students and families due to liability.

    2. Peaches*

      Just curious, how often do you get requests outside of your normal hours on evenings/weekends? Also, what do you do outside of your normal class time that gets you to 50+ hours a week? I have friends who are teachers are not required to have any evening/weekend hours, and generally do not exceed 40 hours a week. Albeit, none of them have 25+ years experience and/or mentor other teachers.

  369. tax lawyer*

    Legal (Big Law)
    Mid-level (senior associate, tax)
    50-60 hours/week
    We’re expected to be always available, even if we don’t always have to be working (checking emails at night and on weekends is the bare minimum). I’m in the office from 9-7, and try and get everything done during that time, and do as little night/weekend work as possible (which is one of the reasons I will never get promoted to partner). Vacation gets some leeway, but these days everyone knows that if you’re in Europe you still have email access, so you can’t just unplug for a week and check the carnage when you get back. It’s worse for the M&A lawyers, and folks who do more international work – I’ve found things to be ok in tax, considering the amount I’m getting paid (“Cravath scale”) and my average number of hours worked a week. But it’s a never-ending grind. The three weeks I had off when I moved firms was the best three weeks. I honestly believe the only time I’ll be able to get away from work like that again is to find a new job…or when I retire in 30 years.

  370. Ammonite*

    Libraries (Academic)
    Technical Services Librarian
    Entry/mid-level. I’m a one woman department so there aren’t people directly above or below me, but I just finished my master’s and this is my first job as a Librarian, not Staff.
    40 hours/week
    I work M-F 8-5 and am only expected to answer emails when I’m out of the office if they’re exceptionally important and time sensitive. Given the nature of my work, there aren’t many of these occasions and I try to prep before I’m out to minimize them further.
    My boss answers emails while he’s on vacation, but emphasizes that he’s addicted to his email and doesn’t expect the same from us.

  371. Jules the First*

    – Architecture and design
    – Head of Bids
    – Senior (reporting directly to the board)
    – 45-50 hours / week typically, with 3-4 weeks a year hitting 60+

    In my role, becoming more senior frequently means working fewer hours – when I was entry level, my typical week was 60+ hours and peaking in the 100+ hour range. Now that I’m in a position to do so, I work less but I also work hard to keep the more junior members of my team under 50 hours.

    I’m reachable by phone or email 24/7 (because I support a global team and they have questions or I have to hop onto a conference call) and I check email on holiday (because my skill set is unusual and it’s hard to get cover for some of what I do). Reading email and rerouting it or responding to postpone the task is pretty much the limit of what I do on holiday and weekends.

  372. Minocho*

    Your field Software Development (Energy Industry)
    Lead Programmer / Analyst – Design, develop and maintain software applications. Lead projects.
    Senior Individual Contributor / Entry level supervisor
    45 hrs/wk (Extremely variable – 36-60+ hrs / week)
    I am expected to be constantly monitoring for emergencies, unless on scheduled vacation. I am on the short list for 2 a.m. processing failure calls. On my team most products that require support only need to work during business hours, but for those assigned as support to our few 24/7 applications, we are essentially one of three people on call for that product at all times.

    We have 9 / 80s, so Monday – Thursday is 9 hours (and 1 hour lunch), and every other Friday is 8 hours, the other Fridays are off. You are expected to be on call during your Fridays off.

  373. Dana B.S.*

    Human Resources
    All of the above – I’m a dept of one, so it’s all the entry-level tasks, a decent amount of mid-level tasks, a few senior-level tasks as needed. I’m generally not involved in strategy decisions.

    40-45 – Sometimes I work through lunch because it’s too hot out, other crappy weather, or I’m in the middle of something. I always pack lunch because of my tight budget.

    I don’t have access to my email on my phone and don’t give out my cell phone number. Any emergency should be handled by the GM. I’m sometimes surprised by the number of emails that I have waiting for me on Monday morning, but so far no one has been upset by my lack of response on weekends. I had 1 instance in which my boss (CFO) asked me to do something right before 5 pm and I thought it would be fine to do in the morning. It wasn’t, but it was a complex issue that I didn’t want to argue.

    I also haven’t taken a vacation in a year & a half, so I shall be curious to see how my vacation next month goes. I will be going somewhere with spotty cell service and will not use the internet at all.

    1. I Have All Of The Questions*

      I’m also an HR DOO.

      I also pack my lunch and I don’t go to the breakroom but I go next door to heat it up and then come back to my desk.

      It’s very nice to meet another one of us on this site. How long have you been in HR and have you ever been in a larger department?

      1. Anonycat*

        I’m also a HR DOO for 230+ employees in manufacturing. I’m 7 years into HR, worked for a site with 80 employees for a larger company before this. What industry are you in?

  374. Charlottemousse*

    Your field: Real estate law (transactional)
    Your job: Lawyer/Attorney
    Your level: Mid-level
    Average hrs/week: Really varies, maybe 50
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Available for client emergencies — I’ve had to work only a handful of weekends a year & I occasionally work a bit on vacations (almost always bring my laptop with me)
    I have had to work very late nights when we have City commission/council hearings (those can go until past 1 am…) but I otherwise generally have good control over my own hours and am given that control with the understanding that if something comes up (rare), I can make myself available

  375. fredsherbet*

    – Software Engineering
    – Software team manager
    – I’m a mid-level manager; although the culture was similar at entry level engineer, and as I worked my way up
    – 40-45h
    – when I’m not in the office I’m not expected to do anything or be available.

  376. hlinak*

    State Government
    Environmental Planner
    Only expected to participate in occasional hearings after hours and get comp time when I do.

  377. Library Lady*

    Public Libraries
    Branch Manager
    Mid-Level/Senior — Most senior person in the office, but near the middle in the organization at large.
    40-45 hours a week
    Work 8-5 most days, expected to close one night a week, work the occasional evening or Saturday as needed.
    Am expected to answer phone at home during emergencies (rare). Occasionally check my emails when I am off, but am not required to. Have cut back quite a bit as I have adjusted more to the position (I am about 2 years into the position).

  378. AnonInsurance*

    Private Insurance company
    SOX Director
    45-60 hours per week, usually on the higher end
    Plugged in at night after the kids go to bed, spent probably half of my last vacation working…

  379. Kate*

    -Energy Law
    -40 hours
    -Not expected to be plugged in
    -Mid-size law firm with mostly corporate clients, very rarely with urgent issues

  380. Alphabet Pony*

    Your field: charity sector, UK
    Your job: subject expert
    Level: mid – experienced individual contributor with some decision-making power but not a manager
    Hours per week: 35, with comp time for anything over that
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: I’m not, it’s actively discouraged by written policies and the general culture
    Any other context you want to add: we have a set email window so you shouldn’t ever be sending emails on weekends.

  381. Peaches*

    It would be interesting to see a “is it worth it?” thread from those who work 50+ hours a week and/or those whose jobs require 24/7 availability. I know some have absolutely no problem working long hours, whereas others (such as myself!) prefer absolutely no work over 40 hours a week. I also understand a certain salary may be worth it to those who work such long hours, even if they don’t particularly love their work.

    1. The Ginger Ginger*

      Yeah I was just thinking I’d be interested in salary and region on some of these if people felt okay sharing that info too. Because a 60hr/wk at minimum wage vs. a 60 hr/wk at 100k are 2 very different things. I could do one of those for a couple years gladly. The other I couldn’t tolerate for even a month.

    2. Anon4This*

      Is it worth it? Some days yes, some days no. Do I love it? Not really – I like solving people’s problems and finding better ways to do things but I generally hate managing people (as an introvert, dealing with dozens of people every day saps the life out of me). I’ve been crispy for years and only manage because I can leave crispy at work and feel refreshed when I get home and get to be with my family (also, pets = stress relief). I also have a spouse with a much more flexible job, and they handle a lot of things that my job precludes me from doing. The other thing is that I’m not really a hobby or social person, and, with extra time, I’m not sure I’d be using it productively anyway.

      Why do I do it? I get paid close to $250K for a job that requires only a bachelor’s degree, and that lets us send our autistic (among other diagnoses) children to a terribly expensive, low ratio private school that is miles better for them than any public school SpEd/IEP ever was and also save for retirement at a breakneck pace. Once we get the kids squared away for college and us for retirement, we’re done with this sort of job.

      I will also add that, in what I call the snob industries (BigLaw, consulting, and finance) or people who run their own businesses, long hours are just kind of expected. No one thinks you’re a martyr for working like this, and the less kind among my colleagues look down on people who only want to do the “bare minimum” 40 hours. (I’m *not* one of those people – if I could stick to 40 hours and still be able to pay for SpEd private school, I would do it.) There is also a generational aspect to it – the people I work with grew up in families where this was the norm, so it seems normal that they would carry it on. Both my parents and my spouses’s parents owned and ran their own businesses the whole time we were growing up, and working evenings and weekends was not unusual (and we were expected to help when we were old enough) – at least now I get paid to work those hours!

  382. Free Meerkats*

    – Municipal government
    – Environmental regulation and enforcement
    – I’m senior, but work pretty much the same as a junior or mid-level person in the same group. As I’m in a Lead position, I do some technical management, which accounts for much of my overtime.
    – Right now, 43-46 hours per week. Anything over 40 is overtime pay and usually because of my Lead status. Currently we are doing a massive investigation, and all of us are putting in the same work week. Normally, the other two people are doing 40 hour weeks and I’m doing 40-45, working on policies, procedures, ordinances, and manuals during the overtime hours. That’s all set aside right now during the investigation.
    – When I’m off, I’m off.

  383. Sabrina*

    Last job:
    40-50 with some months 60+ a week
    I was expected to be plugged in 24 hrs, 7 days a week. During the busy season I was also expected to be able to travel, either several hours or across the country, with a few days notice. Coworkers were publicly thanked for answering calls/emails while on vacations. My manager was asked to take her work phone with her on her honeymoon and refused too, which her boss was very surprised by.

    Current job:
    State employee
    Environmental Scientist
    In two year’s I’ve gotten called on a day off once, with profound apologies and a question that I was able to answer within 5 minutes. I’ve also needed to delay my lunch break twice. In two years.
    This job also pays more then my last and has much better benefits.

  384. GG*

    Your field: Non-profit, mentoring
    Your job: manager
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: I’m in a mid-level position in the organization and have worked here several years
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: The job expectation from the beginning is that I must work 2 evenings per week and attend events that can sometimes be on the weekends. This works for me because I’m able to flex out my time as needed. I do not check emails from home and it is not expected that I be plugged in at all when I’m away from the office. In fact, it’s strongly discouraged in order to promote work-life balance.

  385. Sleepytime Tea*

    -IT for a business development company
    -Business Analyst
    -40 hours
    -Not expected to be constantly available, although if a true fire happened by boss would reach out to me and my coworkers will reach out to ask questions/follow up on things if something I was working on gets tangled

    I’ve worked as an analyst for a number of different sectors. Definitely when I was in finance things were a lot crazier and higher pressure, and because of month-end/quarter-end/year-end type stuff there were predictable times that we knew there would be a lot more pressure. I’ve found that some companies will work you into the ground and some won’t, even in the same sector at similar levels. Part of my process now when interviewing is to get a really good feel for work/life balance for the team as a whole. I’ve made lateral as well as upward moves that resulted in much more regular and fewer hours. In fact, by focusing on that when interviewing, I’ve gone from having crazy 80+ hour weeks regularly to having a really standard 40 hour weeks, while moving up to a senior position and significantly increasing my pay.

    The company you work for makes all the difference, truly.

  386. A Lab Manager*

    Your field: Scientific research
    Your job: Manager, chemistry laboratory
    Level: Mid-level (first-line manager in an organization with roughly four layers of management)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40-45
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Not very; I choose to pay attention and reply to things, but there’s not much activity in my part of the organization outside normal business hours.
    Any other context you want to add: My organization has a pretty strong culture of promoting work-life balance; I’m going out of the country on vacation soon, and I told everyone that I was going to be very slow to reply to emails during that time; more than one person (including my supervisor, who is definitely senior level) told me that I shouldn’t “waste my vacation” on work-related matters.

  387. Old Fezziwig*

    * Research Administration (Non-Profit, Biomedical)
    * Sr. Grant and Contracts Manager
    * Senior individual contributor with entry- to mid-level supervisor responsibilities
    * 40 hrs./week expected, occasional spikes to 45-50 hrs./week
    * No expectation to be available nights/weekends if I’m not in the office; no expectation to be available while I’m on vacation. That said, I’ve been here about fifteen years, and the culture’s changing — folks in my professional cohort that work in other parts of the organization and arrived after me do work nights and weekends and check e-mail while on vacation. When I arrived here, that wasn’t an option, and I was able to set up firm boundaries.

  388. Manufacturing Engineer*

    I’ve worked a variety of industries and positions within Manufacturing, so wanted to provide context for all of them. One big reason for my career changes have been to find the right compromise between ‘boredom’ and ‘exhaustion’.

    Most Overworked:
    Ops Supervisor in Food & Beverage, fairly low level
    Worked 50-84 hours a week (every other week I worked weekend, and it was 12 hour shifts most days)
    Evenings and weekends: since I was a shift supervisor, not much. However, the main reason I changed industries is because the next promotion level would require me to be on call 24/7/365. I was calling my superiors at 3am to report major problems, on average, once a week. About once a month my superiors would have to get out of bed and drive in to work, where they’d put in a 12 hour day.

    Good Balance:
    Project Manager in aerospace, mid level
    Worked 40-50 hours a week, the occasional 60-hour-er
    Evenings and weekends: The type of work rarely requires emergency response. So I work occasional weekends or put in long hours to meet deadlines, but once I’m home I am not getting calls.
    In my company, people who support manufacturing are in a completely different boat. Sunday morning calls are a regular occurrence – which is part of the reason I got away from manufacturing. Director level and above work easily 12 hour days with a reoccurring scheduled production call weekend mornings, even in non-production-focused roles.

    Most Bored:
    Quality Engineer. Low level but it was only a 12-person company, so a lot of responsibility.
    Worked exactly 40 hours a week and it was tough to fill those hours.
    Everyone in the company worked exactly 40 hours, so no one ever called me off hours.

  389. anon for this*

    -publicly traded manufacturing
    -Middle management, but high enough that c-level execs know who I am.
    -I have an 8-9 hour work day (excluding lunch) when I’m at my home site, anywhere from 8-14 hour days when I’m traveling. It’s so long in part because I consider a meal with colleagues on a business trip to be work. We do unofficial comp time and mostly travel on weekdays. I usually check email once in the evenings and once on the weekend, I don’t turn on my computer unless there’s an emergency. Overall I probably average 45-50 hours/week, but it can be anywhere from 30 to 80.

    I think this may be correlation versus causation. Most of the people I know driven enough to make it to the c-suite have a hard time creating work-life balance because they can’t help working all the time. I don’t think that’s healthy and I’ve chosen to not play that game.

    1. anon for this*

      also, when I’m on vacation I’m on vacation. I don’t bring my work laptop and my work phone is off (although it’s with me). a couple people will have my personal number and know to text me if they truly need me.

  390. JMK*

    Non-profit (Small org, staff of 6 employees)
    Program Director (direct services and community level initiatives)
    Full time hours here are 37.5/week. I work 40-42 hrs/week, normally taking a shorter lunch, not working in evenings.
    A few times a year we have planned events that require early mornings, evening or weekends, but these are always planned. No expectation that I will be available on vacations
    Our executive director works substantially more, but I think this is more about not appropriately delegating work to staff members than the actual need to work evenings/weekends.

  391. DukeOfPearl*

    Your field – HR Technology

    Your job – Sr. HRIS Analyst

    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that) – Mid-level (if you rate our companies jobs from 1-6, 1 being executive and 6 being part time minimum wage, my job is a 3)

    Average number of hours you work per week – 45, but I’m lucky. Usually people in my role are working 50-55 hours a week. I’ve burned out of all my previous companies doing that, and I think I found the one workplace that doesn’t require that of my role…. for now

    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation – I’ll glance through emails in the evening and weekends. My boss would like me to take my laptop on vacation, but I put my foot down about it. Usually people in my role are required to be plugged in every moment. We all look like zombies when you get us in a room together at conferences because we’re stressed and burned out.

    Any other context you want to add – I’ve yet to take more than one day off at a time where I didn’t get at least one “emergency” call. But overall I’ve enforced my own work life balance at this job, and I know I’m lucky to have it. I expect any day now that expectations of my level of engagement will change, either through a change in leadership, layoffs, or a new project for a needy client.

  392. Sister Spider*

    Your field
    Your job
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that)
    Average number of hours you work per week
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation
    Any other context you want to add

    Field: Wholesale distribution of medical products
    Job: Regulatory affairs specialist
    Senior level (non-manager, 15 years of work experience)

    I work 40-50 hours a week, salaried and exempt. My boss and I have a good working relationship – I stay if there’s a pressing deadline or sometimes I just might be on a roll with something, and I generally have flexibility with appointments and whatnot. I do not bring my computer home and I do not have access to my work email through my phone so that keeps things separated. I came to this position after 11 years in government which probably helped shape my habits – there was never any after-hours demands for anything, so it’s helped keep the importance of work in my life in perspective.

  393. Pippin’s Mom*

    Mid-level, manage my department and report to a director who oversees several related departments. About 30 yrs with this organization.
    Average work week is 50-55 hrs
    Plugged in pretty much all of the time. I take one week a year where I completely unplug.

    1. Pippin’s Mom*

      Replying to myself. Forgot to add that I’m salaried and exempt so I do have some flexibility for appointments.

  394. tomatotomahto*

    Your field
    Your job
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that)
    Average number of hours you work per week
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation
    Any other context you want to add

    Higher Education
    Fundraising support coordinator (donor meetings, grants assistant, events, project coordinator, etc – I wear a lot of hats)
    40 (up to 60 when traveling, but I rarely travel)
    No expectation to be plugged in. However, if I get an important or time-sensitive email from a donor I’ll either respond myself or forward to the appropriate person. I also occasionally work evenings/weekends but when I do, I am always reminded to flex that time (mostly because there is very little overtime budget for my position!)

  395. CanCan*

    – Legal (lawyer)
    – In-house counsel (one of 5-6) for a Canadian government entity (Crown corporation)
    – Mid-level (8 years experience as a lawyer)
    – 37.5 are the expected hours (40 if you count 30 min for lunch). I’m usually in ~8:30-5pm, 5 days/week. I usually work at least 30 minutes on the bus, sometimes an hour.
    – Not plugged in on evenings / weekends / vacation. They asked if I wanted a work phone; I refused. Occasionally, I work an hour or two in the morning before my family wakes up, but that’s not because I’m plugged in, but on the contrary, to do some deep work offline without being distracted by people, emails, and competing priorities.

  396. BeenThere*

    Field: Nonprofit Healthcare Web Content
    Title: Medical Writer

    I write and revise consumer-level healthcare web content as an individual contributor. I work in an office, but could work at home some if I wanted to. (I don’t want to.) I never work weekends, only very occasionally work longer days. I don’t, and don’t have to, respond to emails or phone calls on my off time. I work a pretty solid 40 hours per week. Rarely, I might work 45 hours per week. I think the managers and editors might work slightly longer hours.

    My earlier writing jobs were in software technical writing. I never worked in a start-up, so my hours were pretty regular, usually 40-50 hours per week. In those jobs, I never had to take after-hour emails or phone calls, either. I think in a start-up software company, it would be quite different.

  397. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    ◾Consumer investing
    ◾Client contact
    ◾A couple rungs above entry-level, but overall still pretty low
    ◾Outside of tax season: 40; during tax season: 43-48
    ◾Not at all plugged in during weekends/vacation, unless I’m pursuing a certification or license (ie the CRPC I just completed, or when I eventually go for my FINRA 9/10) which is entirely on my own time.
    ◾Mandatory overtime is the name of the game during tax season, because even though none of us are licensed CPAs or able to give tax advice, we do get a lot of extra inquiries about tax reporting, people suddenly realizing that they never got a cost basis for something they sold in the past year, that year’s crop of people hitting 70 1/2 and needing help with their required distributions, etc and so on. Tax season for us actually starts to ramp up in late October with a flurry of year-end RMDs, stock donations, last-minute trades to take calculated capital losses, things like that.

  398. Environmental Compliance*

    Environmental compliance (I’m the E of the EHS)
    Environmental manager
    Mid? Senior? I’m the only environmental compliance person at my facility, which is a Title V Major, and I do all the compliance from wastewater to air to other EPA. I have people that I supervise and there is only one person at the facility who is above me. About 10 years experience.
    45ish hrs/week
    Available for emergency calls for federal/state reporting requirements (pretty rare)

    1. Environmental Compliance*

      Also – I am salaried exempt, with pretty flexible hours. I do have a work cell phone.

  399. Dot*

    Higher Education Development/Fundraising
    Development Officer
    I check my email during the evening but am rarely expected to answer right away. I don’t check email on weekends or vaca.
    Sometimes the hours aren’t 9-5 since I’m out meeting with donors or attending events a lot, so the work/life balance can be a bit tricky at times. I also travel a lot for work and always feel like I need to be plugged in when I’m traveling

  400. Delta Delta*

    Field: Law
    Title: Attorney
    Level: Senior-ish (15 years)
    40-50 hours/week, depending on the week.

    I worked at a mid-size firm for the first several years of my practice. It was never stated but was always expected people to be available on weekends, and during vacations/leave time (oh, the stories I could tell; maybe an open thread on unreasonable vacation expectations would be fun). Big Boss always worked weekends and expected that people would respond to the emails he sent on weekends, and would get upset if people didn’t respond. It was awful and made my stomach hurt to look at my phone on weekends. It’s a huge part of the reason I left.

    Now I work at a smaller firm where I have a lot of control over my work and my case load. Sometimes I have to work evenings and/or weekends, depending on what I have going on. I also will sometimes take calls on weekends, if it’s potentially a new client or if I’m preparing for something the following week. I’m also pretty good with establishing boundaries with clients, and they generally don’t try to contact me after hours unless it’s serious (and sometimes it is).

  401. David*

    Business Consultant (clients are nonprofits)
    Marketing Director
    Senior: department head
    Expected to check email and respond to texts evenings and weekends when employees are at a trade show or other industry event in case there’s an issue or they need something emailed or sent overnight. We have people out of the office at an event 7-10 days/month. I probably get one text or email a week in the evening or on the weekend. Because it’s outside of office hours, generally an immediate response isn’t expected, but a timely one is.

  402. Huckleberry*

    Your field: Venture Capital
    Your job: Marketing, Director
    45-50 hours
    Reachable 24/7

  403. vlad43210*

    Field: Tech
    Position: Director of R&D at a startup
    Level: Senior
    Hours: 40-45
    Plugged in: I am officially expected to participate 9-5ish and have vacation time to myself, but I think there is a lot of implicit pressure to chip in when needed to make sure things are running smoothly.
    Context: I had to work really hard to get to this place. Not just do a lot of hard, good work — which I did; but also, manage my professional relationships, figure out my professional identity, figure out what role I wanted and work with my managers to ensure that role has decent work-life balance. And I could NOT have done it without this blog, thank you so so much Alison!
    My experience makes me feel that work-life balance is its own skill — but here’s the good news, you don’t need to be good at it from the start! I got my job right out of grad school, and was very bad at work-life balance to start, but over time I learned how to set boundaries, figure out reasonable expectations, and most importantly find allies at work so we can jointly create an atmosphere where work doesn’t take over our lives. Which brings me to my last point — as you grow in your career, pass it on! Create expectations about only contacting your direct reports (if any) and colleagues during business hours unless it’s a real emergency. Work-life balance happens one decision at a time!

  404. Faith*

    Local government
    Mid-level (I don’t manage anyone, but it’s not an entry-level position either)
    35 (8 hour days with 1 hour break for lunch)
    I’m never expected to be plugged in outside of work hours

  405. JM60*

    – Tech industry
    – Software QA engineer
    – Entry to mid level
    – Slightly more than 40 hrs/week average, usually only working 40 hours/week, with sometimes working a little more when there is a release (a dozen or so times a year)
    – Usually not plugged in at all, unless there’s a product release (note: there are engineers at my employer who have to take turns being on call for 24/7 emergency customer support. My boss is one of them. I’m not.)

    I do have email notifications for work emails on my phone, and will skim those notifications on the weekend for anything that needs my attention. However, I don’t usually work on the weekend, but will volunteer to do so (even though I’m usually not expected to) on the few occasions a year something urgent and unexpected comes up that’s relevant to me.

  406. Anon for this*

    -MEP Engineer (design mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for new buildings – typically work with architects)
    -Senior Mechanical Engineer & Project Manager
    -Senior (not a principal or in the C-suite, just below that)
    -45 hours a week, 50-55 on really busy weeks, some weeks I work close to 40, in the past I’ve worked 60-65 hour weeks, but not at this place
    -Evenings/Weekends/Vacations – only in emergencies that cannot be handled by someone else or cannot wait, however there is some expectation to participate in planned evening activities and occasionally weekend and more of that the more senior you get – We really, really try not to bug people on vacation and most of our work can wait until next business day, but the higher you go the more you become the buck stops here person that might get a call on vacation if no one else can handle it
    -The biggest thing is that the expectation is to work 45-50 hours at most firms that do this type of work. Employees are typically salaried and compensated well for this, but still, it can be tough for people with outside obligations to do sometimes, especially if you have to stay a little late to wrap something up for a deadline, etc.

  407. not sara sidle*

    Field: Law Enforcement/Forensics
    Role: Crime Scene Investigator
    Level: Senior (10 years on, longest serving current member of the crime scene unit), but not a supervisor
    Hours: 40 hours scheduled a week, unscheduled hours (OT) are unpredictable
    Evenings/Weekends: On call one week/weekend a month. Anything from 2pm to 8am the next morning and all weekend long I could come back to work for, which means I’m supposed to stay within an hour of work. We switch our on calls to help each other out with time off, kids, vacations, etc. I’m always expected to have my phone on, even when not on call. Detectives, attorneys, etc want questions answered ASAP. Vacations have been cancelled for trials. Phone calls at all hours of the night even when not on call happen- extra hands are needed at work, can you answer a question for me but not come in.

    I’m exhausted. all. the. time.

  408. roisin54*

    Field: Librarian
    Title: Research Specialist
    Mid-level I guess? Libraries don’t tend to be structured like traditional offices. I’m definitely not entry level, and I’m not a manager. Nor do I have any supervisory responsibilities.
    35 hours
    Most of us are not expected to be plugged in at all when we’re not here, the rare exceptions being higher-ups who will occasionally have to deal with things only they can deal with when they’re not physically in the building. In those cases they’re not even expected to check their email, we just have to have phone numbers for them. And it’s been made clear to us that they are to be contacted only for emergencies.

    I do check my email when I’m not working, mainly just to clear out junk mail and things that don’t apply to me or my department (I hate coming back and having to delete 200 emails at once, I’m very particular about the state of my inbox.) I rarely ever respond to emails when I’m not working. The last time I did that was when a co-worker outside my department referred a patron directly to me, to answer a question that anyone in my department could handle. I wrote her back to tell her I would not be back at work for another two weeks, and she should redirect the patron to my department’s general email. That was really annoying because a) we don’t direct patron questions to staff’s individual email unless it’s an issue a department head or manager has to deal with, and I am neither of those b) my out-of-office message was on so she knew I wasn’t there and c) I was on bereavement leave at the time. Which I’m pretty sure she also knew.

  409. Lucette Kensack*

    I’ll speak to both my husband and myself, because we have pretty different experiences.


    Your field: Nonprofit
    Your job: Program Manager
    Mid-level: Transitioned from a senior-level role at a small organization to a mid-level role at a much larger organization
    Average number of hours you work per week: 40
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Hardly ever. Only for pre-planned events (annual gala, etc.) or in the case of something genuinely urgent. In the last four years at this organization, I think I’ve worked maybe a half dozen times for a scheduled event on an evening or weekend, and been looped into an issue that needed immediate resolution once or twice. I’ve never had to work during a vacation.

    My husband:

    His field: Corporate strategy/legal industry
    His job: Strategy director for a customer segment
    Average number of hours you work per week: Minimum of 50, frequently closer to 60, very occasionally much more
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: He is not expected to be plugged in on evenings or weekends, but he has made a conscious decision to do so in order to advance his career. It has made a significant impact; he has developed a reputation as the “go-to” guy, and it has absolutely accelerated his advancement. Most of his team is on another continent, so he works long hours in order to both keep in the loop with them and keep in the loop with his colleagues in other customer segments that are in the same building as him.

  410. CS*

    – Banking
    – Business banker
    – Mid-Level
    – 40h/week
    – Not at all expected to be available outside of 9-5, M-F, but I do attend events outside of work
    – My duties are primarily business development (i.e. get new business for the bank) and relationship management (i.e. contact existing customers to see if their needs have changed).

  411. Zapthrottle*

    Your field: Real Estate
    Your job: Marketing
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior (provide whatever context you want on that): Director/Department Head, reports to “C” level
    Average number of hours you work per week: 30
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: Minimal, in three months, I worked one Saturday – it was a photo shoot 6am to 7am.
    Any other context you want to add: I went through the gauntlet to do get this role….I had jobs that were 80 hour work weeks, 50% travel, working all nighters, learned everyone else’s job so I could understand the whole business/context of mine, and took on ore than I knew/was paid for for the experience….I paid my dues.

    As to whether it is possible to create a thriving career without the grind, my answer is…it depends. I got my first director position at 29 and it was a true department head position with direct reports, budgets, forecasting, and a real expectation of shit needing to b done…it wasn’t a fluff title that lots of people had like VP’s at a bank. But I wanted to move my career quickly and rise up the ranks in a very male dominated industry. So I put in the time, did the grind, and got the seniority and pay I wanted.

    My last two positions including (current one) have been ENTIRELY because I have almost 20 years of senior leadership and industry achievements – but I’m only 42. You know how they say people are looking for unpaid interns with 2 years of experience….well, lemme tell you, it’s the same air up here. Companies want marketers who are young enough to adopt new tech but somehow have over 15 years of solid, hard experience, decades old relationships to every traditional and digital media outlet in town, a track record that’s verifiable industry-wide, and “knows millennials coz hey are one”

  412. Friend to BEMs*

    Field: Utilities (contractor)
    Job: IT Security Process, Compliance, and Documentation
    50 hours (paid hourly)
    Not plugged in at all unless I’m getting paid for it.

    PREVIOUS Jobs:
    IT Security Analyst
    Junior to Senior
    Average 55 hours (salaried)
    Plugged in on rotation or if area of expertise required.

  413. Hallowflame*

    Staff Accountant
    At the low end of mid-level
    About 45 hours/week
    There is almost never an instance where something will come up that cannot wait until the following morning, so when I leave the office I’m pretty much unplugged. I do have my laptop with me at home on weekends because I work remotely some Fridays, but I rarely boot it up outside of business hours.
    There is about a week out of every financial quarter when I may work a few extra hours to meet rigid deadlines, but that’s about it.
    The only time I have needed to address a work issue while on PTO was when I was out for a week and a time-sensitive question came up about a state tax filing, and all my boss was asking me to do was to log into my email to forward documentation that would allow someone else to complete the filing. He was very apologetic and it turned out that I didn’t have to do anything anyway, since I had already completed the filing.

  414. R&D Manager*

    R&D Manager
    mid-level (manage a team of PhD and BS chemists and technicians)
    40 hours/week
    Our plants run 24 hours a day so I could field a call at any time. In practice, the only people who have my number are the ones who respect my time so it only happens 1-2 times per year. During start-up, it was more like 1-2 times per month. Chemistry is great for work/life balance in my opinion because you can’t really work from anywhere but the lab.

  415. Awlbiste*

    -Public Libraries
    -Assistant Director
    -We’re a relatively flat organization, Director then the rest of us are all his reports
    -40 hours per week
    -Not expected to be available outside work
    -I check my email on vacations, but don’t typically reply, because the small amount of stress associated with that is much much less than returning to work with zero idea about what is going on. I have also come in voluntarily during a stay-at-home-vacation for our monthly board meeting (for which I was paid and didn’t count against my PTO hours).

  416. De Minimis*

    –Non-profit [healthcare org]
    –Senior Accountant
    –40 hrs/week
    –no expectation to be available outside of work, but it’s encouraged to volunteer for the occasional outreach event which is maybe a few hours over a weekend, 1-2 times a year. But I think there are many who don’t participate.

    I began in public accounting where there was zero work life balance, and I decided right away that wasn’t for me [to the point where I ended up being fired from my first job] Since then I’ve found that the government/nonprofit field is a better fit for me, both due to finding the work more meaningful and due to there sometimes being a good work/life balance–though nonprofit can actually be not so great in that respect depending on the organization. I think I’m very fortunate to be at my current employer. There doesn’t seem to be a huge push to work more than 40 hours a week–only exception being the medical professionals who see patients, and possibly for those at the director level.

  417. PrgrmMgr*

    Non-profit (anti-poverty / community development agency that provides direct services to individuals)
    Program manager
    Mid – level; report to COO, have direct reports
    35 hours per week
    I’m not at all plugged in outside of regular office hours and the occasional evening event!

    A lot of people in my field have masters degrees. The options for this are taking time off and trying to get back into the field (which can be tough), an evening program, or a weekend program. I have decided the cost of being a full time student again isn’t worth it and haven’t wanted to give up my nights or weekends for the other programs, so that may have limited my options, but overall I don’t think it’s been that limiting and I’m not convinced the degrees make you all that more marketable nor do I think they justify higher salaries.

  418. NotTheBoss*

    – Health Insurance
    – Product Development
    – Mid-level, based on years with company and knowledge/experience. I’m not a supervisor and have no desire to manage/supervise.
    – 40 hours
    – No expectation to be plugged in outside of standard working hours
    – I work with a wide variety of people and departments in my company ranging from individual contributors to C-level. Aside from our seasonal industry busy time (I’m looking at you September through January), the department that seems the most overworked here is our IT and IT-adjacent staff. Most others seem to have decent work life balance as long as staffing levels are adequate.

  419. B'elanna Torres*

    IT (in Higher Ed)
    Data Engineer
    Almost never plugged-in on weekends, except for planned work a few times a year.
    When I was entry level, at a different company, there were about 2 weeks a year where many of us worked closer to 50-60 hours.
    This was planned, and they gave us half-days on Friday throughout the year, to balance it out.
    When I interview I always ask about typical hours because work-life balance is very important to me.

  420. London Calling*

    -Finance for an event management company
    -Mid level
    -37.5 to 40 hours a week
    No expectation to be available or check emails out of those hours – in fact my manager strongly discourages it, as she knows we put the work in when we are here. She told me off last week for not taking two consecutive weeks holiday in the two years I’ve been working there, but that was because the set-up we had at the time made taking two weeks quite difficult.

    1. Also looking for some balance*

      How is the work/life balance at your company for those who are actually in charge of the event management?

      1. London Calling*

        I don’t think, listening to some people, that there is a work-life balance when planning an event. They work weekends and very early/late but do get time off in lieu when the events are over – although one colleague did semi-joke that she was so busy that she didn’t have time to take her lieu days. We run very big events (my employer is one of the biggest in the country), and when I joined the summer was pretty much regarded as a slack period. Now it’s getting to be busy all the time and I see that reflected in my area as well.

  421. Government Lawyer*

    Program Manager
    Mid level
    Almost always 32. I work at .8 FTE. I negotiated that schedule after I had my first child (I had been at the agency 7 years at that point). Some weeks I work more, but its rare and only if I’m up against a deadline.
    Almost never plugged during time off, unless there is a specific reason I need to be.
    Other context: I’m a lawyer working in a state Attorney General’s office. I manage a specific problem that our office is responsible for, and handle legal issues related to that program.
    Any other context you want to add

  422. Ann Perkins*

    -Finance (specifically financial planning services)
    -Mid-level. I’m c-suite level in our local org but there’s much higher on the chain than me in our corporate office.
    -Not expected

    I have email on my phone, but am not expected to check it or work after hours. I generally work 7:30-4:30ish and have a lot of autonomy over my hours. My boss couldn’t care less if I work through lunch a couple days in a row and then take a long lunch on a slow day to run errands.

    That being said, in financial planning there’s a huge push for more and more designations. I’m one of the only ones in my role throughout the company to not have an MBA, or JD, or CFP, etc. I did spend a lot of time when I first started using my evenings and weekends to complete required FINRA certifications. I’ll be capped out in my career soon if I don’t go get some initials behind my name, and since I’m only 32, that means I’ll probably end up going for a CFP or masters here soon, which would end up being after hours. I have 2 kids under 3 so I’m not looking forward to that but it’ll be relieving once it’s done.

  423. TechWorker*

    – Tech (software)
    – (recently promoted from engineer) manager
    – low end of mid-level
    – 40-45 hours
    – very very rarely asked to explicitly do something out of hours – but usually over text so not expected to check email. Pretty regularly work late due to work load or meetings with people in other timezones though (contracted hours are 37.5). I check out on holiday which I can do at the moment provided my manager isn’t out at the same time. At my company at least response required ooo vastly varies between teams, but management are usually first involved rather than senior technical folk. (Vague but i guess what I mean is there’s def not a direct correlation between seniority and hours req, it’s role dependent).

  424. Magee*

    -Surety Insurance
    -Underwriting Assistant
    -Somewhere between entry level and mid-level
    -37.5 hours a week
    -no expectation to be available when off work
    -with 10+ years of experience in Insurance, it’s a great field for work/life balance, plus degrees aren’t really needed; work can be pretty boring though

  425. TranspoMgr*

    Transportation (public transit)
    Evenings and weekends – yes emails and phone calls. Can turn off for vacation provided I’ve delegated the ability to make decisions to someone.
    I work in an operating environment where we need to be available to respond to issues and emergencies at a moment’s notice.

  426. I Like Statistics*

    I’m not expected to be plugged in at all but I get email alerts on my phone and I’ll answer them sometimes. Even when we’ve had urgent matters I’ve always been able to go home on time or close to it. I responded to an email from my boss when I was riding in the car on my way to vacation last week and she told me to stop reading my emails. :)

  427. SisterSpooky*

    -Financial Services (banking)
    -Team Leader
    -mid-level (I have direct reports)
    -we are able and expected to be unavailable when we’re not on the clock
    -my position is hourly. My boss is exempt, and she does have to be more available, though is still able to fully unplug on vacation/time off with full support from her leaders. My organization values work/life balance.

  428. Bevina del Rey*

    -Communications Director
    -Mid-Level (I’m 38)
    -35-40 hours/week
    -Expected to NOT be working after 5 unless extreme emergency. No expectations for weekend unless rare work trip occuring on weekend and need to coordinate team logistics together.
    -I’ve been waiting for this job my whole life. WORK/LIFE BALANCE WITHOUT GUILT IS POSSIBLE!
    Additional Context: The above motto is supported and modeled by my amazing boss who is a senior badass and the nicest guy in the world, works late when HE wants to, takes time for himself/family.

  429. HJG*

    -big tech
    -manager, program management
    -mid level
    -40 to 45
    -I’m not explicitly expected to be plugged in on weekends/holidays, but I will do sporadic checks to make sure I’m not missing anything time sensitive. I will say I observe most people at and above my level seem to be plugged in 24/7, and many of them appear to spend more time in the office and work more than I do in general. I used to check email 24/7 but realized it was having an outsize negative effect on my mental health, so now I’ve intentionally pulled back from that and focus on getting important deliverables done well and on time. Nearly all of my work can be done remotely, so if I’m feeling mentally spent at 4pm, I head home, eat, then I’ll return to whatever needs to get done once I’m feeling refreshed. I think it’s important to figure out your own boundaries (obviously making sure what you’re doing is cool within your office culture as far as flexible hours and remote work), and then make sure you’re delivering quality work and don’t stress about measuring how much you’re working against other people. No one sits down in performance reviews and says “well so and so always replies to my emails on Saturday night.”

    1. HJG*

      Forgot to mention- I’m about to cross the boundary from mid to late 20s. I’ve been promoted ~5 times (some of these were lateral moves into better job families or into management- I’m counting it as a promo if it came with a salary increase) so this strategy is working well for me!

  430. Door*

    Your field: Public health
    Your job: Local government
    Whether you’re entry-level, mid-level, or senior: Upper mid-level (expected to have a masters degree and experience)
    Average number of hours you work per week: 35
    How plugged in you’re expected to be on evenings and weekends and on vacation: I have a work phone but never check it (need to be available for once-every-5-years type emergencies) and 3 times a year I do a two-week shift carrying my unit’s “on call” after hours phone

  431. Gaia*

    My current field is non-profit but past field was life science biotech

    I am a Data and Analytics Manager

    I am high mid-level (I expect in the next few years to be a Director which would report directly to C Suite)

    35-40 hours per week (full time at my company is 35 hours, my role usually requires an extra 5 a week)

    Unless there is a true emergency, I’m not expected to work evenings or weekends. Emergencies don’t often happen in Data and Analytics. Part of my work is ensuring no data need is emergency. It can all be planned.

    Data and Analytics is a fueld where work/life balance can be difficult. There’s often too much work and not enough time. I look for companies that understand the importance of disconnecting and will encourage healthy boundaries. I love this work so I am guilty of working for “fun” in my downtime but I’ve gotten better at doing non-work data stuff if I want to do that. Skill development on personal time is real though. Things change quickly in this area and you’ve got to keep up or you’ll be in the dust. I have a firm limit of 5 hours a month, max, that I’ll do outside of work. And it has to be a personal interest of mine as well.

  432. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

    Field: Publishing – not in the US
    Title: Rights Manager
    Level: Entry
    Hours: 40 usually, 50ish right before/after book fairs
    Evenings/Weekends: I do a lot of reading for work at home, so definitely a couple hours during the weekend and a few evenings a week. Before book fairs I will work on my list/pitches at home too. Nothing else though as I don’t have email access out of the office.

  433. BenAdminGeek*

    Benefits Administration
    Client relations/team manager
    40, but online for 50-55
    Intermittent, depending on client and team timezones, including our partners in India
    I’ve found that being online for longer periods of time is important, but that you don’t have to be connected all the time. So for me, a longer lunch or stepping away at 3pm is fine, as long as I’m checking emails and IMs on my phone in case something pops. And it sounds terrible, but I don’t share with others at work that I do this. You sometimes have to appear more busy than you are. I’ve been burned in the past where managers check timesheets and tracking for salaried employees, and people are judged for not working enough hours. So honestly, fudging the numbers when salaried is sometimes necessary.

  434. Fleezy*

    Field: Corporate Dentistry
    Title: Practice Manager
    Level: Mid (I manage my office, and have 2 levels of management above me)
    Hours: 40-45
    Evenings/weekends: None for my level! I know my manager gets a lot more evening/weekend calls and emails though

  435. Successfully Balanced*