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Where do you draw the line?

Joel McNary

Joined: Aug 20, 2001
Posts: 1824

Over the past two weeks, my nightly coming home has been ocurring on average at about 11 PM. This is resulting in several things:
1). The project is moving along on schedule.
2). I am getting tired.
3). My wife is complaining that she is not seeing enough of me
4). I am not getting enough time to spend with my two children (ages 3 and 20 months).
Of course, my company cares about fact number 1. I understand that the computer industry (especially small consulting firms) does not typically work 9-5 jobs (or even 8-5). However, this sort of schedule is only slightly atypical for my company. It seems that management sets deadlines way too close for what they can deliver, and the workers bear the brunt. Unfortunately, I am one of the few people who knows what they are doing at my company -- not because the others are incompentent, but because they are inexperienced (on average, they have been with the company only 3 months!)
What is one to do!?

Piscis Babelis est parvus, flavus, et hiridicus, et est probabiliter insolitissima raritas in toto mundo.
Paul McKenna
Ugly Redneck
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 08, 2000
Posts: 1006
Originally posted by Joel McNary:
1). The project is moving along on schedule.

Good.. keep it going that way

2). I am getting tired.

Dont even let your boss get a hint about this.. there are too many people eager to take your job away in this economy

3). My wife is complaining that she is not seeing enough of me

Some people in my office have the family in the office for a while (30-35mins) after 5/6pm. Check if this would be ok with your office

4). I am not getting enough time to spend with my two children (ages 3 and
20 months).

Sad.. but see if solution 3 works out problem #4

What is one to do!?[/QB]

In this economy.. you are lucky to have excess work. Lots of people without work and underworked.

Commentary From the Sidelines of history
John Dunn
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
11pm is early dude. I've doing 2am, 3am, 1am 12:30am etc.
the wife is sleeping when I leave and sleeping when I get back...
I told her to be patient.
It'll pass, don't worry. Just make sure you're doing stuff that is useful. The way I see it is this: The more hours I put in the more experience I get. When the ecomony pans out I'll be in a great position to check out other options in the field. When your on an interview, you'll need to discuss your projects. If you know them inside out, etc you'll do well on the interviews.
Also, when I was out of work I did as much work studying, taking certs, passing certs, trying to convince ranchers that I actually passed... , etc
So, if you're out of work you'll work hard too. Where would you rather be?

"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
sever oon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 08, 2004
Posts: 268
Well, that's the great thing about a free market economy. Look for a new job. Go into contracting. I too think that these things must settle to a happy medium and that too many employers are abusing their developers because they think they can get away with it. But can they?
I've heard our unemployment rate, which is such a big problem and a political hot potato this election year, is hovering around 5.6% (this was the same unemployment rate, by the way, during Clinton's reign when he made speech after speech cooing about the great economy and low unemployment rate). Let's say the tech industry is double that, just to err on the side of being more-than-realistic, making it about 11% in our industry.
You say you know what you're doing and most others at your company don't. To me, this tidbit intimates that you are among the 89% of employable people in our field, and not the 11 out of 100 that can't seem to find work. When you think about these numbers in this way, things change a bit. If you hypothetically lost your job tomorrow, would you be worried that you are in the bottom 10% of your industry skill-wise, making you unemployable?
I am not worried about that. I know I'm well above the bottom 10% mark, I feel I'm probably in the top quarter at least (based on my own self-aggrandizement and very little hard data ). The point is, the only spot of time I had trouble generating interest was the year immediately after the dot-bomb in 2001, and that's only because companies were more focused on losing their deadwood permanently than replacing them with better people. Nowadays, if you're reasonably secure in your skill set and you can back it up, I don't think finding work is that much of a problem.
So post your resume on the hundred or so job boards and start surreptitiously contacting recruiters. When you get an offer or two in hand, go to your bosses at your current company and let them know they have a few options: assign you a reasonable work schedule and stick to it, pay you enough that it's worth not seeing your family, or lose one of the few experienced folks they have.
Moving jobs and shaking things up is scary...but if you're not willing to use what you have, the free market is not-so-free after all.
The only other option I can see that's available to you is to slog through for now with the goal of rising through the ranks high enough that you can set the agenda and change this company's tack on how it treats its developers and schedules projects. A lot of the time, I find that companies that engage in the type of behavior you're describing are wasting your time due to mismanagement--in other words, the same amount of work, properly managed, could be done by an 8-5 staff. But the managers are lazy and incompetent and don't want to take the effort involved in foresight if they know you'll always be there to bail them out. If this is the case at your place, invariably the employees end up forming an ad hoc union-style work slow-down, whether they participate actively or not.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
the problem with your statistics is that like 94.6% of all statistics they are useless as was statistically proven
Whether you're in the top or bottom 10% of the skillpool doesn't matter, what matters is whether the person reading your resume and letter recognises that.
Most will not and just think you're too full of yourself...

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subject: Where do you draw the line?