Time gentlemen (and ladies) please

How often do you stay at work just a few minutes longer to finish something off or even though you came in earlier than everyone else you don’t want to be the first to leave? Does that sound familiar? I am sure that most of us who are working still do that. Occasionally. But there is a whole new breed of young people who are working excessive hours because it is seen to be the only way to get on in business.

When has this become acceptable?

Workers and Unions fought long and hard to ensure that working hours were set at acceptable limits to protect people from ill-health, exploitation and fairness. Those rights are being eroded by a new generation of bosses who encourage, particularly young, staff to work excessive hours in the belief that if they do that their job is safe(r) than colleagues who perhaps are not so ‘committed’.

It is not a rarity these days to hear friends talk of their children having to work till 11pm every evening having started work at 8am, or being expected to stay until ‘the job is done’ regardless of whether it is actually a necessity to finish the job. My criteria would always be ‘are you providing an emergency service?’ if the answer is ‘No’ then quite likely there is no reason to finish a job before leaving the office or workplace. If lives are not at risk from leaving the workplace then surely whatever that ‘important’ work is, it can wait till tomorrow.

It begs the question whether businesses are being under-resourced or whether, as I heard recently, it is being driven by companies who over-recruit and then create competition between staff to prove they are the best people for the job based on how many additional hours they will do for no extra pay and without complaint.

How effective are you after working in excess of 12 hours a day? I would think that any output from a person would be below par, so what are these companies actually gaining?

As Union membership reduces the chances of working under these appalling conditions increase and to what end? Young people are not able to enjoy life if they are working excessive hours, they might turn to alternative methods to get quick highs or relaxation, setting themselves on a downward spiral. Therefore the risk to society is greater by condoning and accepting this increasingly common practice.

Whether you believe in Unions or not, surely most people believe that everyone deserves to work the hours they are paid for and not expected to prove commitment by putting their health at risk from undertaking excessive working hours?

‘Work to live, not live to work’ should be the mantra of all.


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