Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Work-Life Balance --- What's your Max?

This week I'm out of town and forgot to bring the jump drive with my posts for this week --- so in lieu of doing a more traditional post I'm having an open discussion.

Before starting a new topic this week I wanted to give you all some updates about work --- see it pays to drink with the big wigs when you're traveling. I guess one of the big things that came out of the bar was that the "problem" project I'm going to will be changing to 24 hours a day by the middle of April. I'm supposed to keep this under raps as the news hasn't been broken to the project team yet. This is should interesting for me as I've never worked on a project that had shifts - sure I've worked on plenty of projects where we had to go to 10 or 12 hour days, 6 days a week but never shifts so staffing should be interesting, managing the problems etc should be a real learning experience for me. The other interesting thing to come out of this was that the owner of my soon to be project is looking to build some more projects so they are trying to add significant man power to it in order to prove we can handle the next job -- this is a very good thing, it means there will be work in preconstruction department in the near future, unfortunately not enough to justify reuniting the entire department.

Okay...on to the topic for today's open discussion.

At first I thought about asking you all what your time was worth and what's the maximum number of hours you'd be willing to work but I don't know what words of wisdom I could share about this so decided against it. But then changed my mind because my blog is all about my personal opinions (with some research to back it up) so I've decided I'll ask anyway.

What is your time at work worth? What's the maximum number of hours you'd be willing to work?


Cinder said...

I'm not going to post how much my time is worth, but I will ashamingly post that I have no 'max' on how many billable hours I will work. When I am 100% set for a nice retirement and have enough money stashed away for the college funds of my future children, etc, then I may set a max, but until then, I work around whatever the client needs. I also do my best to make sure to work time in for my family, but my fiancee understands and with no children yet, I'm taking the opportunity to build that nest egg nice and big, because when kids hit, I know I won't be working as much (by choice).

Granted, they definitely pay a hefty sum at times, especially when I end up working 87 billable hours in one week to a single client (happened just last month, and that wasn't even the only client I worked with that week, heh, insomnia has its advantages I guess). But when it gets to that point, the client knows what they're paying and why they're paying it and I feel, given how much I am getting paid for it, to be accomodating of their needs. It's why I keep getting these clients with these crazy expectations that I'm some sort of robot at times.

With all that said, I really do have a somewhat healthy home life as well, despite my overly long work hours, I do work out of the home office unless I have to fly out to a client site for some reason (Usually only is needed once a month or so) and I frequently take breaks while working to spend time with the dogs or my fiancee, even when in crunch mode.

JB said...

I think Cinder's crazy! I remember one time in my life where I worked over 80 hours in a month... but it was summertime while I was in college... there was nothing else to do but work.

My family already has one child - so maybe that's one difference between Cinder and I... but I also have other hobbies that I like to do. I don't want to spend my life working... I want to spend my life doing what I want to do... and just work to pay the bills.

My max would depend on how much I was being paid and how I was being paid. But, I think I would cap my hours around 60... and 60 would really make me have to cut back on my family time and hobby time. I prefer 40.

Mom @ Wide Open Wallet said...

Before I had kids I didn't have a max. I've managed a 24 team and it's a lot of hours. Calls at all hours of the day and night. I couldn't even calculate the number of hours I worked a week. But right now. Gosh, I'm not even willing to work 40 hours a week.

Obviously, I would work whatever I needed to work if my family needed it.

Working Rachel said...

I can't imagine working an 80-hour week. I'm in the office 40 hours a week, probably work about 2/3 of that, and even that exhausts me...not so much the work as being out of the hours every day for most of my waking hours.

*Maybe* I'd work more than that if I was guaranteed some ridiculous amount of money, like $200k a year.

Anonymous said...


Surfing the net and saw your blog.

Here is my story...I am a union electrician, working in Pennsylvania and saw you are in construction nice tie-in.

I am on my way to being a multi-millionaire due to simple interest compounding! Every hour I work, I have $5 per hour placed in my annuity. Well, after 20 years and some great portfolio management (my own) I will have over $2,000,000 when I retire in approx. 15 years.

I am a simple, middle class person with the kids and a dog, just your average person...but I saved for 20 years and have 15 more to 35 years of dutifully putting money away...week after week.

My 26 year old daugther is also middle class and I have her saving thru her IRA at work. We project her having approx. 6 million dollars when she retires (13% annual return and 15% placed in her IRA at work). I manage her funds.

Now, so what if we don't get 13% return, but maybe 10%...okay, she will only have 4 million dollars...she can accept that!

But my point is to save early and let compound interest work for you.
You will get to the point later in life, when you have kids and mortgage, that you may not even have to put money away into retirement because you have so much already and a few extra thousand per year is kinda meaningless.

So, work all those hours if you need/want, but simple compounding of interest is your best friend.

You need to relax and smell your life and world between billable hours because life goes by fast.

Future Millionaire

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