The 40-hour work week is that annoying mantra you’ve had drilled into your brain since the ripe age of 18-24 when you started your first “real” job. The glory of the collared shirt and tie, or the fashionable pumps and pencil skirt were achieved, and your cubicle never seemed more spacious.
Then, a month passed and the pumps were killing your feet, the tie was choking you, and those cubicle walls were inching closer every day. Yet you persevered; you pushed through and made yourself a hard-worker and overcame the doldrums.
It seems, however, the hard-working world combined with the recession has turned the hardest laborer into a drone bee, working endless hours to keep your utility at the office, while at the same time allowing little opportunity to think about anything but the next paycheck and keeping a roof over your head.
What needs to be reiterated is this: It is called the 40-hour work week for a reason!
There are of course exceptions, such as if you are hourly and there is overtime available. With the slow economy, there seem to be less and less opportunities for hourly overtime, so if it’s there, of course take the opportunity.
But, for the many that are on salary, you are paid for 40 set hours of work and nothing more. There is no opportunity for paid overtime. Simply put, you are paid to get the work done regardless of how long it takes you, whether that be 30 hours or 60.
Make it a goal to keep your work week at 40 hours. There is no glory working 60 hours a week and being exhausted every evening, then spending every weekend doing the entire week’s chores and errands. It will cause not only mental, but physical fatigue, frustration and anxiety that will no doubt permeate your life outside of the cubicle walls. Check out this brief article for more information on the affects of overworking.
The goals should be something like this:
1. Work hard, seriously – unless you are the 0.1% of employees already operating at the peak of perfection, everyone kills time at work. Try to make it a goal to be diligent and efficient at work, always reminding yourself that the payoff is more time to yourself to get the rest of your life addressed.
2. Leave work at work – Once you leave those office walls, you need to leave it there. Bringing home work is a habit that can lead to slacking at work with the excuse “Oh, I’ll just bring it home with me”. On top of that, this isn’t high school. There is no need for homework. Buckle down, grit your teeth, and really challenge yourself to accomplish as much as you can in 8 hours so you can leave the office feeling energized, or at least proud of yourself.