On unpaid overtime …

From TheCodist.com ….

Why I Don’t Do Unpaid Overtime and Neither Should You

From the article …

“In many countries working overtime is unusual and unpaid overtime is rare or may even be illegal. People value having a life outside of work and the thought of slaving away for their employer for nothing is unimaginably stupid to them. Yet we in the US (and in many parts of Asia as well) often think nothing of it.”

A few years ago, I left a company where my boss actually told us that the company felt it could ask us to work as many hours as necessary because we were salaried. We were told if we weren’t working overtime, we weren’t busy.

As programmers, we were expected to be on call via our personal cell phones (and told to be sure we had voice mail set up) and my boss actually asked me once if I kept my cell phone next to my bed so that I would be available if needed for late night conference calls. We were told that the alternative was to be issued a company cell phone that we wouldn’t be allowed to turn off. When I missed one of the meetings (the call came in just after 11:30 p.m.) I was told that If I wasn’t available for these calls, which could run into the early morning hours, it would be “very limiting” to my success at the company.

We were expected to carry company laptops with us so we could log in from home after hours and on weekends. By the time I left, I was juggling numerous projects, even my supervisor said I seemed to be there all the time and if I took a single day off, I was told to make sure I had my laptop with me.

Let me be clear on this; we weren’t doctors or EMTs, although we did work for a pharmacy supply company and toward the end a couple of people became fond of saying that any mistakes we made were “killing patients”. We weren’t performing any kind of crisis management functions where lives were immediately on the line. We were  programmers designing software for a corporation’s internal operations and our priorities were generally caught in a tug of war between the parent company’s directives and the whims of the local business.

When my work started deteriorating and projects suffered for it, I took an honest look at things and decided I needed to walk away.  I would have liked to stay and correct the problem but decided that probably wasn’t going to happen given the company culture. When I turned in my notice, I told my boss that I didn’t want to play the blame game but that, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t do the job anymore. His answer was “Well, I guess this is where we see who can do it and who can’t.”

Yes, over 4 years later, I am STILL angry that I put up with this kind of abusive crap.