The 40 Hour Work Week Doesn’t Exist

As I sat on my fourteenth plane in three weeks I started to wonder what my week would look like if I truly only worked 40 hours.  I thought about my day last that started at 3:45am when my alarm went off to catch a 5:45am flight and head across the country.  I start to think about my time spent over the weekend for company events, one in which I volunteered happily for and another in which I went to support my staff.  None the less, it was a combined 13 hours of additional work for the company.  Client parties, client dinner, and engagements all on behalf of the company that runs deep into the evening.  If I cut my week off at 40 hours then there are weeks where I wouldn’t make it to Wednesday afternoon.

I want to preface this by stating I am absolutely not complaining.  I have a wonderful job, I work in a great environment surrounded by great people, I’m treated well and in turn I work these wild weeks all because of these listed reasons.  If I had a poor job that didn’t pay well then I would absolutely never think about spending this much time outside the walls of 8am to 5pm with people whom I disliked.  This is not the case.  I volunteer for such events over the weekend not only to show support for my staff but because I enjoy those who surround me.

I couldn’t imagine being one of the millions of people who hate their job but are required to spend this outside work time, this personal family time, at the office or engaged in company related activities.

The point of all this is that the 40 Hour Work Week Doesn’t Exist these days.  In a world where technology is supposed to improve our lives and make communication easier it has only allowed us to stay more connected to the office thus expanding our work week.  Travel time, meetings after 5pm, client dinners, etc. these are all events on behalf of the company that you are spending time at in addition to be connected to the office and your peers 24/7.

If you know anyone who works a standard 40 hour work week and makes over six figures then tell that person to hold on to their job for their dear life, those positions don’t exist.

In addition to this notion that the standard work week has passed us by, companies have to think differently about the way they view their employees.  Clocking in at 8am and departing at 5pm is an old way of thinking and if your organization expects you to be in your cubicle at a specific time each day then they are stuck in a previous decade.  Your company needs to understand the amount of hours you dedicate outside of the clock ticking between 8a and 5p.

I am happy to work these wild weeks, get on a plane when asked, and go the extra distance for my company.  However, I do it because they recognize the effort and work that I put back into them.  Challenge your company to recognize the effort you put forth if they don’t already, odds are if they haven’t by now, they never will.

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